|Ted Cruz at "kill the gays" event|
I recently complained that most of the main stream media had ignored what should have been a major story: Republican presidential candidates attending a gathering where the killing of millions of Americans - i.e., the LGBT population - was advocated in strident language aimed at inflaming anti-gay hatred. Other than MSNBC and a few other outlets, the story was ignored. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had advocated killing selected evangelical Christians - the media coverage would have been 24/7. Democrats have their issues, but you do not see Democrat presidential candidates attending events where murder and mayhem are advocated. Now, belatedly, the New York Times has run an op-ed that looks at Ted Cruz's attendance at a hate group sponsored event and calls for Americans to wake up to the treat posed by the Christofascists. Here are column highlights:
EARLIER this month, in Des Moines, the prominent home-schooling advocate and pastor Kevin Swanson again called for the punishment of homosexuality by death.Here we are worrying about the treat of the work of religious extremists in Paris, yet the media closes its eyes to the domestic threat posed by the Christofascists. This needs to end.
Mr. Swanson proposed this at the National Religious Liberties Conference, an event he organized. Featured speakers included three Republican contenders for the presidency: the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.Mr. Huckabee later pleaded ignorance. Yet a quick web search will turn up Mr. Swanson’s references to the demonic power of “the homosexual Borg,” the unmitigated evil of Harry Potter and the Disney character Princess Elsa’s lesbian agenda.
Mr. Cruz apparently felt little need to make excuses. He was accompanying another of the featured speakers at the conference: his father, Rafael Cruz — a politically connected pastor who told a 2013 Family Leadership Summit that same-sex marriage was a government plot to destroy the family.
On Saturday, father and son traveled to Bob Jones University in South Carolina to join a Rally for Religious Liberty. Among the speakers was Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who has called L.G.B.T. activists “hateful” and “pawns” of the devil.
Mr. Swanson is the product of a significant political movement that has coalesced around the theme of religious liberty. Many of its leaders and their allies appear at the Family Research Council’s annual Values Voters Summit. Other power centers include Liberty University (now a required stop on the campaign trail); conservative policy organizations like the American Family Association and Concerned Women for America; and Christian legal advocacy groups like Liberty Counsel (whose co-founder, Mat Staver, acted as Kim Davis’s lawyer) and the Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal powerhouse behind the Hobby Lobby decision (whose president, Alan Sears, co-wrote a book in 2003 titled “The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today”).
When they hail religious liberty, they do not mean the right to pray and worship with other believers. Instead, the phrase has become a catchall for tactical goals of seeking exemptions from the law on religious grounds. To claim exception from the law as a right of “religious refusal” is, of course, the same as claiming the power to take the law into one’s own hands.The leaders of this movement are breathtakingly radical. Like Mr. Swanson, they feel persecuted and encircled in a hostile world.
True, few share Mr. Swanson’s taste for genocidal fantasy. But they do share the ultimate goal of capturing the power of the state and remaking society in ways most Americans would find extreme: a world in which men rule in families, women’s reproductive freedom is curtailed and “Bible believers” run the government.
All of this raises some unsettling questions about political life in the United States. When presidential candidates court support among the audience of a pastor who openly discusses the extermination of millions of their fellow citizens, why is this not major news?
[W]hy are the rest of us complacent? Because a majority of the public has swung behind same-sex marriage, pundits would have us believe that the culture war is over. The leaders of the religious liberty movement may have lost that fight, but they’re still on the march — crusading through the courts and state legislatures. It would be foolish to underestimate their resolve.