Ted Cruz’s Dark, Twisted World: Why His Far-Right Social Views Are Even Scarier Than You Think

It will come as no shock that the Texas senator is an extremist. But it might surprise to learn just how extreme he is.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Heather Digby parton

Emphasis Mine

Probably one of the most unlikely scandalettes of the 2016 primary has to be the National Enquirer “exposé ” of Senator Ted Cruz’s alleged serial infidelity. Nobody knows to this day where the story originated, although some reporters suggested after it was run that the Rubio campaign had shopped it to them earlier in the cycle. But Donald Trump is known to be quite close to the publisher of the Enquirer (a man aptly named David Pecker) so it’s always possible the story was run for his benefit. Cruz denied it and it faded in the excitement of the campaign, at least for now.

But whatever its provenance, the story was interesting not so much because it’s unbelievable that any politician might have a zipper problem (it’s almost a requirement for office) but because it was the very pious Cruz being accused. This is the man, after all, whose first victory speech began with “God bless the great state of Iowa, let me first of all say, to God be the glory.”

Cruz announced his candidacy at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University where he laid out his vision for the country. And he told a story that he tells on the trail all the time:

When my dad came to America in 1957, he could not have imagined what lay in store for him. Imagine a young married couple, living together in the 1970s, neither one of them has a personal relationship with Jesus. They have a little boy and they are both drinking far too much. They are living a fast life.

When I was three, my father decided to leave my mother and me. We were living in Calgary at the time, he got on a plane and he flew back to Texas, and he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore and he didn’t want to be a father to his 3-year-old son. And yet when he was in Houston, a friend, a colleague from the oil and gas business invited him to a Bible study, invited him to Clay Road (ph) Baptist Church, and there my father gave his life to Jesus Christ.

And God transformed his heart. And he drove to the airport, he bought a plane ticket, and he flew back to be with my mother and me.

There are people who wonder if faith is real. I can tell you, in my family there’s not a second of doubt, because were it not for the transformative love of Jesus Christ, I would not have been saved and I would have been raised by a single mom without my father in the household.

It may seem odd that his “testimony” is his father’s story but it makes sense. Cruz himself was a very smart kid who grew up in Texas and went to Princeton and then Harvard Law which doesn’t provide quite the same pathos as his daddy’s tale of sin and redemption. And his dad is definitely important to his career—he’s a genuine evangelical preacher and wingnut firebrand, well known on the conservative speaking circuit. He brings with him all the authentic street cred his son could possibly need in this crowd.

Cruz’s campaign strategy was built on the foundation of support from the ultra-conservative evangelical base of the Republican partythis recent Pew Poll shows that nearly half of his total voters are white observant evangelical Christians, most of whom attend Church at least weekly. By contrast Trump gets a share of evangelicals but more mainline protestants and Catholics who attend church less than once a week. (This article by Jeff Sharlet in the New York Times Magazine about Trump and prosperity gospel types is fascinating. I’m not even sure they’re really social conservatives.)

I wrote about Cruz’s original strategy (based upon Carter’s peanut brigade) a while back, in which he had planned to sweep the southern states and build up a big lead, just as Hillary Clinton has done on the Democratic side. It didn’t work out for him because it turns out that a lot of the southern conservatives he was counting on were mesmerized by a decadent, thrice married New Yorker. Who would have ever guessed? But he has shown tremendous tenacity, hanging on long after all the Big Boys of the Deep Bench fell by the wayside and it’s now a two man race to the finish.

The adultery accusations don’t seem to have hurt Cruz with his base voters, although it’s possible we haven’t yet seen the effects in more socially conservative states. But Cruz has built up a lot of credibility in that crowd over the years. He’s won the straw poll at the Values Voter Summit three years in a row. Two years ago he made a huge splash in anticipation of announcing his run for president by giving a rousing speech in which he declared, “We stand for life. We stand for marriage. We stand for Israel!” which sums up the foundation of the evangelical right’s philosophy.

Cruz is an anti-abortion warrior of the most strident kind. He wants to ban abortion with no exception for rape or incest. He unctuously explains it this way:

“When it comes to rape, rape is a horrific crime against the humanity of a person, and needs to be punished and punished severely. But at the same time, as horrible as that crime is, I don’t believe it’s the child’s fault. And we weep at the crime, we want to do everything we can to prevent the crime on the front end, and to punish the criminal, but I don’t believe it makes sense to blame the child.”

He holds the same view of a 12-year-old girl being forced to give birth to her own sister: tough luck.

He has led the charge against Planned Parenthood in the Senate, urging a government shutdown if the president didn’t agree to defund it. And he’s gone farther than that:

“If I’m elected president, let me tell you about my first day in office. The first thing I intend to do is to rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by Barack Obama. The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into these videos and to prosecute Planned Parenthood for any criminal violations.”

Ted Cruz is a lawyer and ex-attorney general of Texas who has argued cases before the Supreme Court. Unlike Donald Trump when, he makes a statement like this, he cannot claim to be ignorant of the fact that the president instructing the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation on anyone would be the very definition of abuse of power and quite likely an impeachable offense.

His dismissive comments on contraception, meanwhile, are insulting to every woman:

“Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom, you put 50 cents in and voila. So, yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them.”

He’s equally adamant about gay marriage, and insists that he will work to overturn last year’s landmark Obergefell ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage across the country, just as he will work to overturn Roe vs Wade. He says:

“It’s not the law of the land. It’s not the Constitution. It’s not legitimate, and we will stand and fight.”

Again, this is a man who argued cases before the Supreme Court and presumably knows very well that marriage equality is the law of the land.

He has defended a ban on late term-abortions and a display of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol. He argued that the pledge of allegiance should include the words “Under God.”  According to this astonishing article by David Corn in Mother Jones, he even defended a state ban on dildos, arguing the state had an interest in “discouraging…autonomous sex,” comparing masturbation to hiring a prostitute or committing bigamy and declaring that no right exists for people to “stimulate their genitals.” (His college roommate tweeted a hilarious reaction to that story yesterday.)

He’s all in on the “religious liberty” legal theory as defined by the Manhattan Declaration and enjoys keeping company with some of the most radical dominionists in the nation, including David Bartonthe junk historian who also runs Cruz’s number one super PAC, Keep the Promise. That super PAC is funded by a couple of Cruz’s megabucks donors, Texas energy barons Farris and Dan Wilks, both of whom are ultra conservative Christians. He’s even tight with the bigots who spearheaded the recent sweeping anti-LGBT legislation in North Carolina, congressional candidate and evangelical pastor Mark Harris and the former HGTV twins the Benham brothers, whose show was cancelled over their anti-gay activities. And then there is his father Rafael Cruz, who is counted among the most militant extremist preachers in the country and who believes his son was sent by God to turn America into a theocracy.

Ted Cruz’s confrontational political philosophy is revolutionary. His policy agenda is at the farthest edge of conservative movement thinking, even including gold buggery and the abolition of the IRS and half a dozen other agencies and functions of the federal government. His foreign policy advisers include anti-Muslim cranks like Frank Gaffney. His ideology is doctrinaire right wing conservative. And he is a fanatical conservative evangelical Christian whose beliefs place him at the fringe of an already non-mainstream worldview.

It’s not surprising that people would have a hard time believing that such a man would be a serial adulterer. But when you think about it, he would hardly be the first conservative Christian leader to be undone in such a way. (In fact, it’s so common you have to wonder if it isn’t an occupational hazard.) So far, he’s weathered the storm. But he is a fully realized right wing radical deeply embedded in the conservative Christian right.  If any of it turns out to be true, Cruz will have a very long way to fall.

Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

See: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/ted-cruzs-dark-twisted-world-why-his-far-right-social-views-are-even-scarier-you-think?akid=14170.123424.9lSTbc&rd=1&src=newsletter1054631&t=18

Why The GOP Has The First Amendment Upside Down

Source: National Memo

Author: Gene Lyons

Emphasis Mine

One entertaining aspect of recent dramatic Supreme Court rulings was learning that the court’s high-minded intellectuals can be just as thin skinned and spiteful as everybody else. Apparently, Justice Antonin Scalia was a law-school whiz kid about 50 years and 50,000 cocktails ago, and finds it hard to accept that lesser minds are not obliged to agree with him.

For his part, Chief Justice John Roberts turned political prognosticator in his dissent to Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision legitimizing gay marriage. “Stealing this issue from the people,” he wrote, “will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.”

Granted, if all you had to go by was the sky-is-falling rhetoric of Republican presidential candidates and their theological allies, you might think that Roberts had a point. But he doesn’t, partly because the Supreme Court ruling won’t bring about dramatic social change at all. It merely affirms social changes that have already happened.

But hold that thought, because political handicappers at the New York Times argue that same-sex unions could be the best thing that ever happened to the GOP. Not because millions of outraged religious conservatives will stampede to the ballot boxes, but because… well, here’s the headline: “As Left Wins Culture Battles, GOP Gains Opportunity to Pivot for 2016.” 

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum believes that the gay marriage fight is over. “Every once in a while,” he told reporter Jonathan Martin, “we bring down the curtain on the politics of a prior era. The stage is now cleared for the next generation of issues. And Republicans can say, ‘Whether you’re gay, black, or a recent migrant to our country, we are going to welcome you as a fully cherished member of our coalition.’”

Sure, Republicans could say that. If Republicans were in the habit of dealing with reality, that is.  Frum, a Canadian Jew who became a U.S. citizen in 2007, may be forgiven a bit of wishful thinking. Ever since getting pushed out of the American Enterprise Institute for saying Republicans were foolish not to negotiate with the White House on Obamacare, he’s been trying to persuade Republicans to act more like British Tories.

But that’s not how today’s GOP rolls. On the party’s evangelical right, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was breathing smoke and fire. A Baptist preacher, Huckabee indulged in a bit of ecclesiastical word play, denying that the Supreme Court could do “something only the Supreme Being can do — redefine marriage.” He denounced the ruling as a “blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment,” and vowed to defy it.

In this, Huckabee echoed Rev. Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who even before the Supreme Court ruling had vowed that “as a minister of the Gospel, I will not officiate over any same-sex unions or same-sex marriage ceremonies. I completely refuse.”

Isn’t that brave of him?

However, do you really suppose it’s possible that Floyd, Huckabee, and the rest of the hyperventilating GOP candidates fail to understand that all churches have an absolute First Amendment right to their own beliefs and practices? They’re bravely refusing to perform ceremonies that nothing in this nor any imaginable Supreme Court decision would require of them.

If your church refuses to sanctify same-sex marriages (as mine certainly does), that’s its unquestioned right. For that matter, the Catholic Church also refuses to marry previously divorced couples, or even admit them to communion — an absurdity to me, but not a political issue.

Nothing in the Supreme Court ruling changes those things. It’s about marriage as a secular legal institution: two Americans entering into a contract with each other. Period.

That’s why Bloomberg View‘s Jonathan Bernstein is right and Justice Roberts is wrong about same-sex marriage causing long-lasting social resentment. Marriage, he writes, is “a done deal,” and the issue will soon be relegated to “history books alongside questions of whether women should vote or alcohol should be prohibited.”

Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 decision invalidating miscegenation laws, was accepted almost immediately. Bernstein points out that in states such as Massachusetts and Iowa, where same-sex unions have been legal for years, they’re no longer controversial.  

Because it’s really none of your business, is it, who loves whom? And it has zero effect on you personally. So grow up and get over it.

In time, as Bernstein says, most people will.

In the near term, however, millions of aggrieved GOP voters appear to have gotten the First Amendment upside down. They won’t easily be dissuaded. Feeling besieged by the mainstream culture, they’re encouraged by the Huckabees, Cruzes, and Santorums of the world to believe that they’re being persecuted because they can’t make everybody else march to their drumbeat.

The Republicans’ problem is that to most Americans, that’s the antithesis of religious liberty, and a surefire political loser.

 


 

See: http://www.nationalmemo.com/why-the-gop-has-the-first-amendment-upside-down/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=MM_frequency_six&utm_campaign=Morning%20Memo%20-%202015-07-01&utm_content=A

One of the Most Incredible Weeks for the Progressive Movement in Ages

Let’s take a look at what happened this week.

Source: American Prospect, via AlterNet

Author: Robert Kuttner

Emphasis Mine

What an extraordinary week in the political and spiritual life of this nation.

It was a week in which President Obama found the voice that so many of us hoped we discerned in 2008; a week in which two Justices of the Supreme Court resolved that the legitimacy of the institution and their own legacy as jurists was more important than the narrow partisan agenda that Justices Roberts and Kennedy have so often carried out; a week in which liberals could feel good about ourselves and the haters of the right were thrown seriously off balance.

Yet this is one of those inflection points in American politics that could go either way. It could energize the forces of racial justice and racial healing. It could reconstitute the Supreme Court as a body that takes the Constitution seriously. The week’s events could shame, embarrass and divide the political right.

Or the events of the week — the Court upholding the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage; the racist South giving up a cherished symbol of slavery; President Obama explicitly and eloquently embracing the pain of the black experience –– could energize the haters.

Consider Obama first. His eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney was the finest expression of political and moral leadership of his presidency. Obama has spoken this candidly on race only once before as a political leader — when his candidacy was on the line in 2008, in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright affair.

In that speech, Obama managed to thread the needle of candidly explaining the experience and the rhetoric of Reverend Wright’s generation, without either condoning the things Wright had said (“God Damn America”), or quite throwing him under the bus. And in the process, Obama won praise for his skill as a leader and a truth-teller on race, and defused a potentially lethal threat to his candidacy.

For the most part, Obama has been timid about using his rhetorical gifts; timid about fighting for what he believes; reticent about engaging Congress or the nation. The exceptional moment, such as the Charleston eulogy shows what the man is capable of — but allows himself to express only rarely.

It is just possible, now in the last 18 months of his presidency, that Obama, with not much to lose, will embrace the boldness that has eluded him for most his two terms — on race, on gun control, on social justice generally, and on the red-state/blue state divisions that are far more severe now than when he gave the now-famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that established him as a national contender.

There was also one sour note in Obama’s successes of past week. His victory in the fight to pursue a Pacific trade deal was the wrong battle for the wrong goal. Countless progressives wondered where that fighting spirit was when we needed it on so many battles that he and we lost.

There is a direct connection between the racial equality that was, paradoxically, advanced by the Charleston massacre and the economic inequality that has only worsened on Obama’s watch. The more that the One Percent makes off with the lion’s share of America’s productivity, the more the white working class and the downwardly mobile middle class are inclined to scapegoat people of color and immigrants.

(N.B.: Yes!)

How much stronger a hand Obama would have to call America to be its best self on racial healing, if he had been a fighter all along for economic justice; if working class people of all races felt that they had a champion in him. Instead, the biggest economic battle of his second term was on behalf of a corporate wish list.

That said, there is now momentum on the progressive side. There is movement for the symbolism of taking down the Confederate battle flag to give way to substance. If Southern Republican leaders now recognize the pain that such symbols cause, how about the pain of the denial of the right to vote? How about the pain of denial of health coverage under Medicaid so that Republican leaders can score political points against Obama.

The president was eloquent in his eulogy on the subject of grace.

According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not merited. It’s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God… As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us, for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind. [Applause.] He has given us the chance, where we’ve been lost, to find our best selves.

Well, if we as a nation were to stop with the removal of the Confederate flag from official sites, that would be cheap grace indeed. To shift the metaphor from Christian to Jewish, one thinks of the Passover song, Dayenu, which means, “It would have been enough:” If God had led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, that would have been enough; if He had given us the Torah, it would been enough. And so on. But God’s blessings are infinite.

To flip the sentiment, if the Southern elite took down the flag — that would not be enough. And if they restored the right to vote freely, that would not be enough. And if America got serious about police brutality, that would not be enough. And if conservatives stopped trying to overturn affirmative action — that would only be the bare beginning of what we owe the descendants of slavery, segregation and continued acts of racial violence.

Which brings me to the Supreme Court. In the decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, Justice Roberts rose to the occasion with true eloquence and discernment. Justice Kennedy, author of the soaring decision on gay marriage, has displayed growth and compassion on a range of issues. Even in dissent, in the gay marriage decision Justice Roberts acknowledged what a momentous shift the acceptance of same-sex marriage was and is.

Justice Scalia was revealed, even more than before, as a petty, vindictive crank. His cheap, personal put-downs of Kennedy and Roberts in dissent can hardly serve to win them over in future decisions.

Here again, if the Court really wants to atone for past sins, Roberts and Kennedy might revisit the absurd decision throwing out key sections of the Voting Rights Act on the premise that racist denial of the right to vote was no longer a problem; and the equally bizarre decision equating money with speech. They have now had time for penitence — to see the real-world consequences of their handiwork and consider just how wrong they were, not just on the Constitution but on how politics actually operates.

Still to come will be a decision on affirmative action, where past signals have suggested that the Roberts Court is ready to overturn it. After Charleston, and the national conversation that the massacre has opened, this would not be the moment to destroy the society’s ability to very partially remediate past oppression.

All in all, a good week for everything decent in America. But only the bare beginnings of the progress we need to make. President Obama needs to keep following that inner light. The new Supreme Court majority needs to continue aiming higher than narrow partisanship. And the rest of us need to broaden the struggle for economic as well as racial justice.

 

Robert Kuttner is the former co-editor of the American Prospect and a senior fellow at Demos. His latest book is “Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency.”

See: http://www.alternet.org/culture/one-most-incredible-weeks-progressive-movement-ages?akid=13255.123424.mgnLe2&rd=1&src=newsletter1038583&t=13

Uncoupling: Why the Right Feels Violated by Consent, Queers, Contraceptives, and Child Protection

Source: Valerie Talerico

Emphasis Mine

The conservative Christion obsession with sex and procreation can be traced back to a single Iron Age gender script.

Stories of patriarchal Christian leaders groping, fondling, masturbating on or otherwise harassing or assaulting women—and having clandestine sex with men–seem to be a media staple of late. At the same time, conservative Christian leaders are fixated on lording it over women, queers, and kids. Consider, the following sample from Spring 2015:

  1. The Vatican’s second in command pronounces Ireland’s 62% endorsement of marriage equality via national referendum  a “defeat for humanity.”
  2. Catholic priest and blogger Father Dwight Longenecker proclaims that transgender former Olympian, Caitlin Jenner, is a “man dressed up as a whore” who is “caught up in a huge publicity machine to sell himself and now to sell his sexual confusion.”
  3. The Seattle Archdiocese agrees to pay $1.2 million to a woman abused for five years by a priest who was a known pedophile shuffled between parishes by the Church hierarchy.
  4. Devout U.S. presidential wannabes Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee warn the public that gay marriage proponents are a danger to Christianity, which is likely to be criminalized if the Supreme Court backs equality.
  5. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker calls forced vaginal ultrasound before abortion “a cool thing.”
  6. Former U.S. Speaker of the House, Republican Dennis Hastert (also a celebrated alumnus of my alma mater, the Evangelical Wheaton College), is indicted for stealing $1.7 million from his securities firm to pay hush money to a former male high school 
  7. student he coached in wrestling and sexually molested.
  8. The producers of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting stop counting dollars and start counting how many sisters Josh Duggar molested before becoming an anti-gay, anti-contraception, anti-kids-rights advocate. (Duggar’s celebrity father had previously advocated the death penalty for incest.) Conservative Christian politicians, bloggers, and religious leaders rush to defend Duggar who, as shown in a photo album at Wonkette.com has touched nearly every conservative presidential contender with “the same hands that touched his sister.”
  9. Bob Jones University suspends sexual abuse investigation, but then resumes after public outcry. A Protestant sex abuse scandal, focused on universities, orphanages, missionary schools and more heats up globally.
  10. Paraguay’s Catholic-dominated court denies a 10-year-old rape victim the right to terminate her forced pregnancy.
  11. Conservative Republicans kill funding for America’s most effective teen pregnancy prevention program, which provided IUD’s to young mothers in Colorado.
  12. Under the influence of Bible-quoting conservatives, the U.S. continues to stand with Somalia against the rest of the world, by refusing to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Idaho implements a bill, signed in April by Governor Butch Otter, protecting parents from prosecution in cases of religiously motivated child abuse and medical neglect.
  13. A Christian Gender Roles article titled, “8 Steps to Confront Your Wife’s Sexual Refusal,” goes viral as the sequel to, “Christian Husbands: You Don’t Pay for the Milk when You Own the Cow,” a biblical manifesto that stops just short of endorsing marital rape—or maybe doesn’t.Christianity’s Anti-Marketing Team?If you’re feeling disgusted, you’re not alone. From the standpoint of wooing converts or even inspiring the faithful to stay faithful, the sex-obsessed behavior of high profile patriarchal Christians is about as effective as the U.S. Army’s attempt to win hearts and minds with drone strikes. I’m not trying to be poetic here—in the last decade or so, the percent of Americans who self-identify as Christians has dropped from 85 percent to 70 percent, and young people point to the “culture wars” as a key reason that Christianity turns them off. Guess who’s leaving the fastest? Women. Moderate Christians find themselves apologizing for their co-religionists, trying desperately to overcome the perception (fostered largely by biblical literalists and conservative Catholics) that Christians are judgmental, control-freakish, sex-obsessed hypocrites.

    So, why don’t the anti-marketers back off? After all, Evangelicals center their faith around a verse known as the “Great Commission” – Go into the world and make disciples of every creature. And the word “catholic” means universal, literally. The Catholic Church has spent centuries sending a sales force of missionaries into countries and cultures around the world to promote their product. If your prime directive is win converts, it seems obvious that you should lead with universal feel-good platitudes, not some archaic version of Machos rule! Females, fags, and five-year-olds drool!

    Some people say that the best evidence against the Bible’s God is that his public relations team is so inept. But I don’t think the problem is incompetence on the part of God’s spokesmen. I think they are stuck.

    Caught in an Iron Age Trap

    Many moderate Christians see the Bible not as the literally perfect Word of God, but as a record of humanity’s struggle to understand what is real and what is good. They find unique value in the Christian tradition and the model of Jesus but may also acknowledge value in other spiritual traditions while recognizing the human handprints on the biblical texts

    By contrast, biblical literalists declare the Good Book to be the complete and timeless Word of God, essentially dictated to God by the authors. Having made an idol out of the Bible, they have little choice but to promote the Iron Age worldview of the Bible writers. And in this worldview–childish taunts aside–machos do rule. God gave Adam a “helpmeet” named Eve-not-Steve, and to punish her for seeking independent knowledge swore that Adam would rule over her and she would bear his children and it would hurt like hell. As later Bible texts encode in law and illustrate in story, those children are Man’s property—assets that he can use for labor, send to war, sell into slavery, trade for political alliance, or even sacrifice as a burnt offering. In this view, consent is not a thing. Nowhere does the Bible, Old Testament or New, suggest that a woman’s consent is needed or even desired prior to intercourse. And for a man to have sex with another man violates the whole procreative hierarchy.

    In other words, patriarchal Christian men are obsessed with lording it over women, queers, and kids because in the view of the Bible writers (and true Bible believers) that is the right and proper order of things, ordained by Yahweh Himself—who, by the way, gets really mean when people don’t do things his way.

    Josh Duggar from TLC’s reality show 19 Kids and Counting, recently resigned as Executive Director of the anti-gay, anti-female Family Research Council after his history of teen sex offenses came to light. When Duggar’s parents first learned years ago that he was molesting his younger sisters, they sent him to get counseling from a guiding light of patriarchal misogyny, the Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP), founded by Bill Gothard, who has since been accused of molesting or sexually harassing at least 30 women himself. IBLP teaches a strict hierarchy of God—Man—Woman—Child. When I attended one of their traveling seminars as an evangelical teen, this hierarchy was represented visually by the image of God’s hand holding a hammer (the father), striking a chisel (the mother) shaping a diamond (the Christian teen). A key message was that teens needed to hear the words of those in authority over them as the voice of God.

    This model of man as God’s representative here on Earth, is fundamental throughout the Bible. The texts assembled in the Bible were written during a time spanning hundreds of years, and much cultural evolution took place during that time. Even so, women and children remained chattel (property of men) clear through the New Testament, along with slaves and livestock. In the biblical view, all sentient beings including female humans were created by God for man’s pleasure and use, and man was granted dominion over them.

    All of this makes male control of female sexuality exceedingly important—because without male “headship” and (lots of) reproduction, the whole religious-cultural-economic model breaks down.

    Modernity Uncouples Family Formation, Sex, and Parenthood

    The values of modern secular society: individual freedom and bodily autonomy, equality, and the right to wellbeing and “pursuit of happiness” are fundamentally at odds with this model. Consider three incredibly cherished and important dimensions of human life: family formation; sexual pleasure/intimacy; and parenthood. Liberals and moderates today believe that individuals should have the freedom to choose each of these dimensions of life independent of the others.

    We view these freedoms as positive social and moral goods:

    • People should be free to form loving, mutually supportive, legally recognized families with each other regardless of their sexual orientation or desire to have children. Legitimate families or “extended family” households can take of a wide variety of unconventional and fluid forms: an aunt raising her sister’s child; an unmarried elderly couple living together, a queer married couple, a co-housing community that includes single parents and kids.
    • The cherished experiences of sexual pleasure and intimacy should be broadly available to people regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, stage of life, legal partnership status, ethnicity, religion, or financial status—including those whose values or life circumstances mean they don’t want to bring a new child into the world. This includes college students, impoverished refugees, the elderly, queer people, and many others who may not be in a position to form an enduring intimate partnership.
    • Becoming a parent, as one of life’s most sacred commitments, is a matter of personal intention and choice, free from coercion either for or against, chosen by couples or individuals themselves; couples who are empowered by family planning and fertility assistance and supportive care systems to bring babies into the world when they feel ready, or adopt children who need parents. Conservative patriarchs are horrified at the thought of empowered, autonomous people freely choosing each of these dimensions of life. They are intent on forcing all of us back into a Bible-shaped box, one that establishes the proper Iron Age hierarchy of man over woman and child, that allows sex only within socially sanctioned legal structures governing property ownership and inheritance, and that ensures powerful men retain control of the economic and social assets that are rightfully theirs, including their women and their children. (See Captive Virgins, Polygamy, Sex Slaves: What Marriage Would Look Like if We Actually Followed the Bible.)Freely chosen relationships that make sex about mutual desire or love violate this model; legally recognizing children as wholly persons rather than property violates this model; women actively managing their fertility via contraception or abortion violates this model. The mere existence of queer folks violates this model.

      One New Testament writer puts these words in the mouth of Jesus, “What God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6 NRSV). While the passage refers explicitly to divorce, members of the Christian patriarchy movement apply the concept more broadly to the entire arena of family formation, sexuality, and childbearing.

      Freudian psychological concepts like denial, projection, repression, and reaction formation may explain why red states are the biggest consumers of online porn, or why Evangelical leaders keep getting caught with their pants down. But if you’ve ever wondered why patriarchal Christians are so obsessed with controlling sex—who gets it and how, who’s on top and why, whether it leads to childbearing, and who gets to hit the kids it produces—the answer lies in this Iron Age script. Be fruitful and multiply; if you beat your son with a rod he will not die; men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; women will be saved through childbearing; and God made man in his own image—in the image of God created He him. It’s all in the Book.

      _____________________

      Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org.  Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel.  Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

See: http://valerietarico.com/2015/06/11/uncoupling-why-the-right-feels-violated-by-consent-queers-contraceptives-and-child-protection/

Clinton is banking on the Obama coalition to win

Source: washpo

Author: Anne Geraan

Emphasis Mine

Hillary Rodham Clinton is running as the most liberal Democratic presidential front-runner in decades, with positions on issues from gay marriage to immigration that would, in past elections, have put her at her party’s precarious left edge.

The moves are part of a strategic conclusion by Clinton’s emerging campaign: that it can harness the same kind of young and diverse coalition as Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012, bolstered by even stronger appeal among women.

Her approach — outlined in interviews with aides and advisers — is a bet that social and demographic shifts mean that no left-leaning position Clinton takes now is likely to hurt her when she makes her case to moderate and independent voters in the general election next year.

The strategy relies on calculations about the 2016 landscape, including that up to 31 percent of the electorate will be Americans of color — a projection that may be overly optimistic for her campaign. It factors in that a majority of independent voters already support same-sex marriage and the pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that Clinton endorsed this month.

The game plan also hinges on a conclusion by Clinton strategists that the broad appeal of issues such as paid family leave, a higher minimum wage and more affordable college will help outweigh any concerns about costs.  

The campaign’s overall calculus relies on a mix of polling — including both internal and public surveys — internal focus groups and what advisers described as gut feelings about the national mood. It also reflects what Clinton backers say are her firmly held personal convictions and her pragmatism.

“Her approach to this really is not trying to take a ruler out and measure where she wants to be on some ideological scale,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said. “It’s to dive deeply into the problems facing the American people and American families. She’s a proud wonk, and she looks at policy from that perspective.”

Clinton’s full embrace of same-sex marriage in the first days of her campaign was followed by clear statements in favor of scrapping get-tough immigration and incarceration policies — many of which took root during her husband’s administration. She has also weighed in with liberal takes on climate change, abortion rights and disparities in income and opportunity between rich and poor.

All are issues that have been divisive in the past for both Democrats and Republicans. But none are now judged to be radioactive for Democrats, which gives Clinton more elbow room.

By taking such positions, aides and advisers hope Clinton will not only inoculate herself against a serious challenge from the left in the primaries, but that she also will be able to push on through the general election. Her campaign believes American public opinion has moved left not only since Bill Clinton won election in 1992 on a centrist platform, but also since Barack Obama won on a more liberal one.

Republicans — as part of a broader critique of her trustworthiness — accuse Clinton of flip-flopping on some positions and hiding on others, such as free trade, to cater to the liberal base.

“Clinton’s already moved her position leftward on numerous hot button issues to the base, including immigration, gay marriage, Wall Street and criminal justice reforms,” conservative America Rising PAC director Colin Reed wrote in a position paper Friday.

“Clinton’s moves reinforce all her worst attributes as a candidate and hurt her image among voters of all stripes,” Reed said. “Progressive voters know that she’s not truly one of them” while swing voters “see a desperate politician staking out far-left positions that are outside of the mainstream of most Americans.”

Many political strategists also say Clinton will be hard-pressed to re-create Obama’s winning coalition and that the 30 percent to 31 percent non-white turnout that some of her outside backers are projecting may be out of reach. Exit polls show non-white turnout was 28 percent in 2012 and 26 percent in 2008. Clinton will have to expand Hispanic support, increase turnout among independent women and still hold onto a large share of black voters drawn to the first African American major party nominee.

The bold stance on immigration is widely seen as one way to jump-start the expansion of Hispanic support Clinton will need, although advisers say she had already made up her mind about citizenship and there was no reason to put off an announcement. When outlining her position in Nevada, where 1 in 4 residents is Hispanic, she made a point of saying that no Republican would go as far — and alleged the GOP wanted immigrants to have “second-class status.”

“People often talk about the electorate moving left,” said Clinton senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan. “I think it’s more that the electorate is just getting more practical. For Hillary Clinton, that matches her evidence-based approach. The arguments that persuade her are evidence-based and progressive.”

He cited the growing consensus that mass incarceration is expensive and unworkable, and that the country is never going to deport all of the more than 11 million people who are here illegally.

Advisers do not dispute that Clinton has a finger to the wind of the national mood, but they insist the timing and substance of her positions are not driven by polling. The still-cautious candidate has declined to make clear her position on two key proposals that many liberals oppose: the Keystone XL Pipeline and Obama’s free-trade deal.

Sullivan also noted that some of Clinton’s early proposals “cut against the grain” of political liberalism, such as her emphasis on improving the playing field for American small businesses.

Clinton will debut policy proposals to ease lending bottlenecks for small businesses on campaign trips to Iowa and New Hampshire this week. The impetus came largely from conversations Clinton had in the run-up to the campaign and a six-month policy review led by Sullivan that looked at how Clinton might address a range of national concerns.

“The thing she is most interested in is not what position is most popular, it’s what do people worry about,” Sullivan said.

Clinton’s 2008 campaign was so focused on polling data and the consequences of saying the wrong thing that it sometimes appeared paralyzed. Some of that campaign’s infamous staff battles focused on the advice from senior adviser Mark Penn, a pollster, to avoid more liberal positions in the primary that year for fear they would hurt her in a general election contest.

This time is different, backers say. “The strategic advantage the Democrats have is that the distance between our base and the middle is shorter than for Republicans,” said Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress and a longtime Clinton confidant.

In other words, Clinton’s strategists say, she does not face the same whiplash as Republican candidates who seek to dial back hard-right positions on issues such as abortion or immigration adopted during a competitive primary.

Senior campaign officials acknowledged that trade is a divisive and fraught issue for Democrats and for her. Clinton’s past support for the Asia free trade pact makes her current silence awkward at best, but her advisers are gambling that the issue won’t leave an enduring rift within the party.

Clinton campaign leaders and outside loyalists also bridle at the perception that she is less of a progressive politician than, say, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). They point to Clinton’s early career as a crusading lawyer in Arkansas and lifelong professional commitments to improving women’s lives.

Warren has said she isn’t running but has declined so far to endorse Clinton. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is running a strongly populist challenge to Clinton, and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley — who has suggested Clinton is too hesitant and poll-driven — is expected to enter the race this month.

“If Clinton and other candidates are not seen as standing with Warren on the TPP trade deal and a number of other economic issues critical to working families, it could create an even greater sense of urgency” to get Warren into the race, said Gary Ritterstein, an adviser to the support group Ready for Warren.

The clearest shift in national attitudes, and Clinton’s own, has come on same-sex marriage. She moved from saying she considered marriage to be between a man and a woman when she was first lady to backing civil unions as an alternative to marriage in 2008 to full support of gay and lesbian marriage now.

Public opinion polling suggests she is on safe ground, despite ongoing legal fights in several states. The firmest opposition to gay marriage is centered in red states and among Republican voters unlikely to consider voting for Clinton.

Pew Research polling shows that in August 2008 — when Clinton endorsed Obama as the Democratic nominee — 52 percent of Americans opposed legal same-sex marriage and 39 percent supported it. The same poll now shows 54 percent support for such marriages while 39 percent are opposed.

Shifts on criminal justice issues are less dramatic, but there are bipartisan efforts now to repeal some of the harshest and least flexible laws on the books for two decades. Outrage and revulsion over police killings of black men over the past year made the issue more urgent for many young, African American and socially liberal voters.

Last month, Clinton gave an address calling for dramatic changes in policing and prosecution to lessen the rate of incarceration. The remarks echo similar calls among both Democrats and some Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

“Two or three years ago,” said Clinton policy adviser Ann O’Leary, “that speech might have been seen as a very left-leaning speech.”

Peyton Craighill contributed to this report.

Anne Gearan is a national politics correspondent for The Washington Post.

 

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/running-to-the-left-hillary-clinton-is-banking-on-the-obama-coalition-to-win/2015/05/17/33b7844a-fb28-11e4-9ef4-1bb7ce3b3fb7_story.html