Values Voter Summit: What Kind Of Values, Exactly?

On October 7, thousands of will gather at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC for the Value Voters Summit, an annual political conference for American social conservative activists and elected officials from across the US.

The event's Facebook page states that the Values Voter Summit is held "in the cause of family, family, and freedom." I'm not so sure that's a typo, as the VVS is hosted by the Family Research Council, the conservative Christian hate group that spends the majority of its resources advocating against LGBT rights, women's heath, sex education, embryonic stem-cell research, gambling, and pornography. All of these things, according to the Family Research Council, are a threat to family.

Or at least the FRC's definition of family, which, according to their views, must include one heterosexual man and one heterosexual woman who are married to each other, and whose values must be aligned with the Judeo-Christian worldview.

What kind of values are these folks peddling? 
Based on the statements attributed to the event's sponsors and speakers, these values are: homophobia, xenophobia, dishonesty, ignorance, denialism, Christofascism, paranoia, hysteria, oppression, discrimination, bullying, misogyny, exceptionalism, and bigotry.

The Speakers
Let's take a look at some of the event's speakers, and some examples of their values:

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins, President, FRC Action and Family Research Council (FRC)

Representative Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.)

Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.)
Rep Vicky Hartzler

Genevieve Wood, Vice President, Leadership for America Operations, The Heritage Foundation

Mathew Staver, Chairman, Liberty Counsel and Dean, Liberty University School of Law

Senator Rick Santorum, Republican Presidential Candidate

Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas), Republican Presidential Candidate

Rep. Steve King
Representative Steve King (R-Iowa)

Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Va.)
Herman Cain

Herman Cain, Republican Presidential Candidate

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republican Presidential Candidate
Ken Cuccinelli

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R-Va.)

Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Republican Presidential Candidate
  • Said of Melissa Etheridge's cancer: "This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.”
  • Said that we live in a time when "a judge will say to little children that you can't say the pledge of allegiance, but you must learn that homosexuality is normal and you should try it."

Bryan Fischer
Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis, American Family Association

Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President, FRC Action

Derek McCoy, President, Maryland Family Alliance

Brian Brown
Brian Brown, Executive Director, National Organization for Marriage

David Tyree, Former Wide Receiver, New York Giants
  • Said that the Marriage Equality Act would "be the beginning of our country sliding toward...anarchy," and would trade his famous catch and the team's Super Bowl title to keep marriage between a man and a woman.

Gary Bauer
Gary Bauer, President, American Values

Glenn Beck, Founder, Glenn Beck TV (yes that's how he's being billed.)
Bishop Harry Jackson

Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church

Jason Mattera, Editor, Human Events
  • Accused President Obama of using cocaine and called him "scrawny street agitator" and "jack-ass."

Lila Rose, President, Live Action

Dr. Kenyn Cureton, Vice President for Church Ministries, Family Research Council
Brent Bozell III
  • Believes that those who do not support FRC's agenda are pawns of Satan.

L. Brent Bozell III, President, Media Research Center

Mark Levin, Host, "The Mark Levin Show"
Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly, Founder, Eagle Forum

The Sponsors
The event is heavily represented by the following organizations (those with asterisks are event sponsors):

The American Family Association*:
  • Designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Claims "[p]rominent homosexual leaders and publications have voiced support for pedophilia, incest, sadomasochism, and even bestiality."
  • Sent out mailers which read: "For the sake of our children and society, we must OPPOSE the spread of homosexual activity! Just as we must oppose murder, stealing, and adultery!" and "Since homosexuals cannot reproduce, the only way for them to 'breed' is to RECRUIT! And who are their targets for recruitment? Children!"

2 hate groups are sponsors
Family Research Council*
  • Designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Claimed that children in gay households are at greater risk of sexual involvement with a parent.
  • When American Airlines introduced domestic partner benefits, the AFA asked, "What are you going to develop next? A pedophilia market?"
  • Stated that "the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a [molestation] danger to children."
  • Claimed that “homosexuals are overrepresented in child sex offenses” and that “homosexuals are attracted in inordinate numbers to boys.”
  • Claimed that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order."

National Organization for Marriage
  • Founding president Maggie Gallagher wrote: “In a simple biological framework abstracted from all religion and morality, homosexuality is like infertility. It is a sexual disability preventing certain individuals from participating in the normal reproductive patterns of the human species.”
  • Gallagher believes polygamy is better than same-sex marriage.
  • Has deep ties to the Mormon Church, the Catholic Church hierarchy, and right-wing evangelical pastors.
  • Have engaged in a "radical, nationwide plan to flout long-established campaign finance disclosure laws. This is nothing short of a strategic, coordinated plan to hide their political activities from voters and state offices charged with monitoring campaign spending. This effort has prompted several state investigations and resounding legal defeats for NOM."
  • Are occasionally hilarious.

Liberty Counsel*
  • Argued that hate crime laws are “actually ‘thought crimes’ laws that violate the right to freedom and of conscience.”
  • Argued that it should be considered “criminally reckless for educators to teach children that homosexual conduct is a normal, safe and perfectly acceptable alternative.”

With values like these...
Good luck, Values Voters Summit. Your particular brand of 'values' is on the decline, and, in a few generations, will likely be extinct. Support for same-sex marriage has risen over the past two decades, soaring from 11 percent approval in 1988 to nearly 50 percent by 2010.

The number of young people who claim 'no religion' has increased drastically. Nearly a third of young people today say they have no religion. Any idea why that is?  Well, it's complex, but according to David Campbell (professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and author of 'American Grace: How Religion Divides Us And Unites Us'), "We have good reason to believe that the growth of the nones...is a direct reaction to the intermingling of religion and politics in the United States."

So, at the end of the day, what we have with the Values Voters Summit, is a group of dinosaurs lamenting the fact that society is moving away from the very values which are causing people to move away.

The message I have for you, Values Voters, is evolve or become extinct. Personally, I prefer to stick with my own values, and pass them along to my children. Those values are knowledge, reason, justice, compassion, and human fulfillment. These are values which, unlike yours, never dictate that I inflict harm upon, or restrict the rights of, other human beings. These values will allow us to evolve. And they will evolve with us.

Bill Maher: It Gets Better

Bill Maher's contribution to the It Gets Better Project is really great. It addresses a few things that don't get talked about enough: silent bullying (through being ostracized), and the fact that bullying often has little do do with the person getting bullied.

It also shows that, even though straight folks will never know what it's like to be bullied for being gay, many of us have been bullied for other reasons. However, while the bullying that many straight folks experience is horrible (I know), we can't even imagine what it might be like when exacerbated by religious bigotry, sexual aggression, and familial rejection.

This is where we're failing as parents. We need to encourage our children to not be silent bystanders when bullying occurs. As, Maher mentions, kids do indeed fear that if they get involved the bullying might be turned towards them. But we need to stress to our children that if one kid stands up for a bullied peer, others will almost always join in support.


Pat Robertson: 'Halloween Is Satan's Night'

Every fall, like clockwork, the leaves change, the Red Sox collapse, and the Christian Right starts freaking out about Halloween.

Just last week we revisited a classic example of religious Halloween paranoia. While that one's hard to beat, there's always someone willing to stick their neck out.

Enter Pat Robertson.

On the Sept. 27 broadcast of the 700 Club, Pat fielded a question from a viewer about how Christians should approach Halloween.

Pat says,"We don't believe in haunted. We don't believe in ghosts," apparently forgetting about that one crucial part of the Holy Trinity.

He continues: "Halloween is Satan's night! It's the night for the devil! It's the time when witches and goblins...like the dead rising..."

Okay, Pat. You say Christians don't believe in 'haunted.' They don't believe in 'ghosts.' But you believe that Halloween is 'Satan's night,' a night for the devil? We don't believe in devils at my house, Pat. We do believe in candy corn, however. Lots of it.

And speaking of zombies, Pat, Christianity has several of the most well-known examples of 'the dead rising' ever. Embrace the zombies, dude.

Back in your casket, Pat. You're scaring the children.

Religious Nutjob Heckles Obama With Antichrist Craziness

Political events are turning up some doozies this fall. We've seen audience members at GOP debates cheer for executions and dying uninsured citizens. We've also seen them boo US military members who happen to be gay.

At the House of Blues in Los Angeles yesterday, an audience member interrupted President Obama by shouting about Jesus for several seconds before finally claiming that Obama is the Antichrist.

The guy really should have checked Snopes before embarrassing himself like that.


NC Family Policy Council Releases Hilarious/Sad Report On Anti-LGBT Amendment

The North Carolina Family Policy Council has released a new report called, 'Countering the Deception: Responding to Allegations About the Marriage Protection Amendment' (PDF).

It would be hilarious if it weren't so sad.

Commenting on it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. So I'll let you take a look at it yourself.

It is summarized below, however (in their own words), if you're not a glutton for punishment.
1: “The MPA is anti-LGBT, and represents an attack on LGBT North Carolinians.”
Response: Nothing about the MPA is anti-homosexual—it is simply a defense against an attack on marriage that is being waged by the REAL AGGRESSORS, homosexual activists and their allies, who are seeking to redefine marriage in every state in this nation.

2: “The MPA will write discrimination into the State Constitution.”
Response: The MPA is about preservation, not discrimination. It would preserve the definition of marriage that has existed throughout history in the State Constitution, and at the same time make a positive statement about what constitutes a marriage in North Carolina.

3: “The MPA is a form of religious-based bigotry.”
Response: The MPA is really about protecting the rights to free speech and religious liberty, which, as this accusation shows, are seriously threatened by the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” It will help preserve the ability of the Church to continue to transmit traditional values about sex, gender, and marriage—including what the Bible says about homosexual activity.

4: “The MPA is harmful to the children of LGBT individuals and young people who identify as LGBT.”
Response: The MPA will help to protect all children by maintaining the marital norm for society of one man, one woman that has endured for centuries and is backed up by social science evidence because no other family form can provide children what they need to thrive, or duplicate its benefits for individuals and society.

The Religious Right Doesn't Want A Theocracy, It Just Wants Christian Morality Enshrined Into Law

Frank Turek wants to make something clear. The Religious Right doesn't want a theocracy. It just wants its Christian morality enshrined into law.

If you're unfamiliar with Turek, he is an author, TV show host, and leadership trainer. He is perhaps best known as the guy who was fired by Cisco Systems and Bank of America for his public anti-gay tirades. Turek has consulted for a host of Fortune 500 corporations, including Aetna, Coca Cola, CIGNA, Home Depot, and The Hartford. He also appears regularly on TV and radio talk shows, spewing all sorts of anti-LGBT venom.

In the below video, created by The Oak Initiative, Turek says the religious right doesn't want to legislate their morality any more than progressives are trying to legislate morality, by, say, telling you "what kind of light bulbs you're gonna buy," or "what kind of cars you're gonna drive."

Turek, like so many Americans, doesn't seem to get it. Morality predates monotheism. Morality can be traced to the behaviors of many social animals (who, it should be noted, do not read The Bible). Morality does not require a religious basis.

Therefore, morality that is rooted in religious dogma (i.e. 'homosexuality is wrong'), does not have any place in legislation. Morality that is rooted in religious dogma which also has a secular basis (i.e. 'stealing is wrong') does. Morality that is not rooted in religious dogma, but which has a secular basis (i.e. 'women should have the right to vote' or 'slavery is wrong') does.

See how that works, Frank?