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‘Conservatives’ Who Gathered in Colorado a Different Breed

By Hatewatch Staff on March 25, 2013 - 11:25 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim, Conspiracies, Patriot Groups

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — You might have thought that a conference with the title “Conservative Call to Action” would feature lots of talk of small government, of Ronald Reagan, of the need to defend traditional values and a capitalist economy. But that would be yesterday’s conservatives.

Instead, at the event held Saturday in this famously conservative town that is home to the nation’s biggest concentration of Christian Right organizations, rabid Florida pastor Terry Jones, whose televised burning of Korans set off riots overseas that left several people dead, claimed that he didn’t hate Muslims at all — and then went on to rant that Islam “makes Nazism, fascism look like charity.” He was joined by other “conservatives” who warned that the universities are brimming with “commies,” that all liberals are evil, that President Obama only won re-election through “massive voter fraud,” and that the president’s health care plan is “Marxism to the core.”

Symptomatic of the shift of a broad swath of the conservative movement to outright paranoid fantasy was the appearance of Dinesh D’Souza, who was once a respected commentator on the right. D’Souza began to run off the rails with a 2010 Forbes magazine article that he expanded into a book and then into a 2012 film, “2016: Obama’s America.” The article was pilloried by more old-fashioned conservatives, including Daniel Larison, who described it in The American Conservative as “the most ridiculous piece of Obama analysis yet written.” The article, book and film argue that Obama is motivated by a dream of undermining Western power.

D’Souza told attendees, in effect, to get over Reagan and turn to the tasks at hand — battling the media (wholly “liberal” since Richard Nixon, he argued), all museums (they’re “liberal,” too) and “95%” of elite universities (whose professors, D’Souza said, are “anti-American”). “Obamaism” is theft, he said, the president does not care about the country, and in any case is aiding Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Jones was something of a star at the conference, whose audience topped out at 50 or 60 and was hosted by a group of the same name, Conservative Call To Action (CCTA). In this crowd, it probably boosted his credibility that he’s been banned from entering Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom because of his anti-Muslim hate speech, as his appearance as No. 2 on a “10 Most Wanted” list published by Al Qaeda certainly did. Jones described how he returned to the United States from missionary work abroad in 2008, only to be “horrified” by the country’s finances and the spread of teen pregnancies, abortions and homosexuality.

Jones offered the crowd red meat, saying that Americans need to unite, to recruit more true believers to the far right — and to be willing to die. Then he told his fans that he was off to South Carolina, one of the nation’s most conservative states, to talk to a Republican ally there about a run for an office he didn’t identify. He added that Islam was “evil,” “dangerous” and the “greatest violator of human rights.”

The conference was hosted by CCTA President Jennifer WarHawk, a self-described former atheist who also founded a group called Moms’ and Dads’ Associated Society Helping to Educate Conservative Constitutionalists. Leading off the event’s speakers, WarHawk said she was inspired by two things to organize the gathering: the death of right-wing commentator Andrew Breitbart (whose facts-be-damned website infamously and without any basis attacked former Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod as a black racist) and her work in Colorado campaigning for Rick Santorum (who, after quitting his run for the GOP presidential nomination, started writing a column for WorldNetDaily, a far-right website that once ran a six-part series claiming that eating soy beans causes homosexuality).

WarHawk’s Facebook page features the new radical call from opponents of gun control — “Molon Labe,” ancient Greek for “come and take.” The phrase, attributed to King Leonidas I of Sparta as he defied Persian armies at the 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae, has been popularized by the Oath Keepers, a radical antigovernment “Patriot” group. The Oath Keepers is made up of present and former military and law enforcement personnel, and is obsessed with government plots aimed at taking Americans’ guns and imprisoning all who resist in concentration camps.

Another speaker typical of the new “conservatives” was Marine Corps veteran Bill Finlay, a former deputy sheriff and U.S. marshal known on the right-wing speaking circuit as “Wild Bill for America.” Describing himself as a “liberalologist,” Finlay said the ultimate goal of liberalism is to install a totalitarian government. He said the universities are full of “commies.” He said liberals will use the mental health system to attack gun owners. And he proposed to create small “special forces” teams to “invade liberal territory,” “expose the liberal agenda,” and “sow chaos” among liberal groups.

Up next was Colorado-based activist Michelle Morin, whose website features links to Muslim-bashing groups like Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs blog (where Geller has published claims like the assertion that President Obama is the “love child” of black radical Malcolm X and that the president’s mother was a “crack whore”). Morin went through a litany of complaints, saying that Obama’s health care plan was “Marxism to the core,” that “illegals” were bad for America, that same-sex marriage was damaging the nation and its freedom. If the left gets its way, Morin warned as have others on the far right, the first people targeted will be people of faith.

What CCTA hoped to accomplish with its conference was the building of a “worldwide Conservative movement that is highly networked and connected.” But the more important thing that came out of the gathering may have been more evidence of the increasingly unhinged rhetoric of many of those on the political right. In an emblematic moment, as WarHawk tried to end the conference with thanks to her volunteers, she was interrupted by the shrieking of a fire alarm that drove the entire crowd out the comfortable hotel and into the frigid outdoors.

  • Mark Potok

    A note to our commenters:

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    This is not an attempt to censor people’s thinking, but it is an effort to make Hatewatch more of a community of people discussing important issues. We don’t want it to degenerate yet another Internet shouting match.

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  • aadila

    Then come to an understanding, honey pot. The rest of us already have.

  • Brock Henderson

    Oh, you’re talking about judicial review of acts of Congress, something the judicial branch of the U.S. government was never given the power to do? Oh yeah, sure, Madison’s and Hamilton’s explicit explications of the Constitution are all one big “crackpot legal theory.” Hilarious.

    Uh, last time I checked, the theories of Gramsci, Hirschfeld, Marcuse, Adorno, Kinsey, and the Port Huron Statement are very real, tangible things.

    In order to engage in a debate on religious liberty here in the U.S., aadila, we have to come to an honest understanding of what it is and what it is not.

  • aadila

    Fortunately for everyone, Brock, such determinations do not rest with me or any other individual but the institutions of our country; specifically, in the case of interpreting the Constitution, the courts. Whatever crackpot legal theory you may have is fair game if you wish to file suit. But when you are smacked down, don’t say I didn’t warn you. And as to your book, sadly the flower of intelligence does not always bear fruit.

    That settled, are you going to address my rebuttal on the alleged affronts to religious liberty in America, or slink away and hope that no one notices?

  • Reynardine

    Brock, for the last and utmost time, GET PSYCHIATRIC ATTENTION. I know what I’m looking at. This won’t end well.

  • Brock Henderson

    Aron, I never said paganism wasn’t a traditional religion. Do entire communities with paganism as an established religion have a history here in the U.S.?

    aadila, I have before me a two-volume book, over 2,000 pages in length, called the Debate on the Constitution. These include minutes, excerpts, and transcripts of the debates that took place at Independence Hall, the Constitutional Convention, state ratification documents, plus the Declaration, Articles of Confederation, and the big kahuna, the Constitution itself. If I were to scan it all, I wouldn’t find any evidence that calls your claims about the Supremacy Clause or the First Amendment into question, would I? You are being honest with us, aren’t you? How can the Supremacy Clause be a state incorporation vehicle for the First Amendment when it’s the LATTER that is an amendment to the FORMER? In any case, you must have godlike knowledge and insight into the real legal mandates inherent in the Constitution when you – someone born possibly as much as two centuries later – claim that some of the parties responsible for providing their due consent towards the ratification of that document, people who were THERE, were in fact in violation of it the entire time concerning the First Amendment. Wouldn’t it be a rather serious matter, aadila, that a handful of the states were in direct violation of the Constitution that had JUST gone into effect, by having state religions? You know, serious enough to merit many a statement of denunciation by authorities on the matter? Can you provide any statements by members of Congress, for instance, during the period of time in question, calling upon the states to renounce their state religions because they did, in fact, ratify a document which served to incorporate the First Amendment and/or the others towards the states?

  • aadila

    Brock, paranoid ideation leads people to see a menace where there is none. If you were able to climb down from the ledge of exalted defiance and inject some reason into your arguments it would be easier to engage with them. This passionate screed against vague exogenous forces conspiring against you speaks to a certain amount of delusional thinking.

    Don’t get me wrong: I admire your fighting spirit and at times you show evidence of higher thinking skills, but when you resort to blanket condemnation of intangible forces and phantom enemies I really feel sorry for you because it must be dreadful to live that way.

    To help get you on the path of reasoned discourse once again, perhaps you could address some specifics instead of metaphysical generalities and emotional diatribe that lack any tangible basis for discussion.

    If you bet I am “angry at conservatives” that would be a losing bet. The idea of shadowy yet anthropomorphic ideologies which creep and lurk ever nearer provokes a sense of pity rather than anger.

    To be quite clear, there are examples where I feel certain complaints against religious expression in the public sphere go to far. I for example, have no problem with a monument or statue with religious motifs near a courthouse, because this is part of the fabric of American history and culture. That is a far cry from a judge handing down a stiffer penalty to an apostate or non believer due to their religious beliefs, or for violating religious rather than secular law.

    Where I do have a problem is the intrusion of superstitious ideas such as the existence of gods or metaphysical “creation” myths into public school curricula, when there is no way to substantiate such ideas through material analysis. For example, one might believe there is a little man in the refrigerator who turns off the light when you shut the door, but I wouldn’t want that to be presented to children as a viable alternative to learning about physics.

    And when religion intrudes into public sphere to the detriment of other faiths, the right not to practice religion, or against the basic principles of science (whether they be social or material), it is predictable that the backlash can focus on the origin of such ideas (the faithful) rather than the specific intrusions found objectionable. Certainly you should be able to see that religious militancy is met with anti-religious militancy in equal proportion.

    So please feel free to sort out the bolus of angst that troubles you so about religion in America, and let’s go one by one with the specifics where you feel the right to religious freedom is under assault. Keep in mind that I practice religion and represent a religious minority. Perhaps we will reach common ground.

  • Brock Henderson

    Oh and aadila, my parents had nothing to do with my current beliefs.

    And yes, I bet you’re angry at conservatives for identifying the left-wing ideologies that are doing their part to destroy the West. Cultural Marxism, political correctness, secular humanism/secularism . . . I bet you’d just LOVE to be able to operate with perpetual stealth and obscurity, with your opposition totally at a loss for knowledge of those terms and their meanings. After all, a nameless and faceless enemy can carry out its mission much more successfully.

  • aadila

    Brock,

    In the first case, the evidence you seek is found in Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution.

    In the second case, you quite clearly failed to stand by what you said. I presented a cogent argument, which you failed to rebut. In order to stand by what you say, it would be necessary to defend your opinions in the face of a rational argument. Obviously, you cannot. And this is exactly why so many people are willing to file suit to limit the imposition of your beliefs, not, as you claim, because of the mere existence of religion.

    Finally your affirmation of a “de facto” religion for cities, towns, and counties is completely erroneous. The exercise of religious freedom is a question of individual liberty, not one conferred upon the public powers, as per the Constitution.

    Likewise, the argument that prior existence of unconstitutional practices justifies their continuance is also preposterous, fallacious and absurd.

    Thank you, please come again.

  • Aron

    Traditional religion? You mean Paganism? Because Paganism is much, much, much more traditional than the Abrahamic Three, pre-dating it by tens of thousands of years.

    You can’t win, Brock. We’ve got your number.

  • CoralSea

    Mareli –

    I saw the Pat Robertson video, as well, and yes, he chuckled. But he also didn’t dismiss the idea and he stated that inanimate objects could sometimes harbor demonic energies. But you are correct, he said this in connection with a question that had been asked of him, although I stand by my using it as an example, since a non-kook would have told the questioner “absolutely not.”

    There are certainly no shortage of a certain type of Christian that holds odd beliefs about inanimate objects. The Dominionists like to burn cultural artifacts to address “Generational curses” and, of course, Bill Gothard freaks out over troll dolls and believes that having them in the house will either make pregnancy difficult or lead to a rough delivery of the baby. So I could have used some of these other stellar examples of rational thought in place of Robertson’s latest weirdness.

    Aadila — Great post!

    Brock goes the weasel — Dogs eat hovercrafts!

    Nothing else gets through, so “Dogs east hovercrafts!!!!”

  • Brock Henderson

    CoralSea, I now ask for evidence that the people of the U.S., by their due knowledge and consent, ratified a part of the Constitution which incorporated the Bill of Rights towards the states. So you’re saying that in the few decades following the ratification of the Constitution when a few of the states still had established churches, they were in violation of the Constitution. Evidence, please. Thank you.

    aadila, why yes, indeed, when the forces of secularism are creeping into a town or city or county which has known a certain religion as its de facto religion for generations, and then all of a sudden a court ruling emanating from lawsuits filed by one or two disgruntled village atheists puts a sudden end to all of that, then the citizens of that municipality are quite likely to try and put a name and a face on the movement responsible for it. What other name is there to call these anti-religious forces? I stand by what I said, by the way. The purpose and destiny of secular humanism is the abolition and destruction of traditional religion.

  • Mareli

    I hate to speak in Pat Robertson’s defense, Coral Sea, but he never saId clothing from Goodwill needed to be exorcised. He was asked by some nutty caller whether or not it was necessary to pray over second hand clothing to exorcise devils and he said there was probably nothing to worry about and that such prayers, although harmless, were unnecessary. I saw this video and Robertson actually chuckled at the idea that someone thought second hand clothes might be demon-possessed. I am no fan of Robertson’s, but he is not guilty of this charge.

    Also, when was Dinesh D’Souza “respected”? I have always thought he was a far-right nutjob who simply had enough schooling to know how to set his extreme views in grammatical paragraphs.

  • CoralSea

    Brock — the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (you know — part of the Bill of Rights) includes as its first item a prohibition of the establishment of religion by the state (the Establishment Clause). The First Amendment also forbids the government from favoring one religion over another.

    Certainly, in many communities, Christianity was a “de facto” public religion by virtue of the fact that the majority of the people who lived in the community were Christians (or nominally so). This was a cultural thing, but it certainly wasn’t sanctioned by the Constitution.

    As it is, religion is actually well-supported in this country when one considers its non-profit status. Also, many religious organizations receive funding from the U.S. government to allow them to help out the disadvantaged. Catholic Charities received about 70% of its funding from the government up to a year or so ago. I don’t know if this has changed. And you’ve heard about “Faith-Based initiatives?” I have mixed feelings about these. On the one hand, some religious-based organizations are “down in the trenches,” helping people who are struggling, and it makes sense to funnel money through them. On the other hand you have groups like pregnancy crisis centers, which basically prosyletize to women who are seeking abortions. I don’t think that government funds should be spent on what is basically religious preaching. This also applies to the ridiculous, abstinence-only sex education, which is invariably something pushed by religious folks.

    I will not engage you further, as you are an abusive, know-nothing assclown with mental problems.

  • aadila

    Brock, if you stopped repeating the intellectual defilements your parents gifted you with, you might actually get somewhere in your arguments.

    “Secular humanism” is a popular catchphrase among the religious right to describe what they perceive as an assault on the sancitity of their beliefs (i.e. the ability to impose religious doctrine on others in a secular climate such as schools or public spaces).

    I am an unabashed secular humanist, and also exercise my right to religious practice. Indeed I support the existence and flourishing of all faiths because I believe religious studies can contribute to a well ordered and peaceable society. For example, I have repeatedly called in this forum for expansion of faith-based programs (of which Christianity is perfectly valid) in penal institutions to help exiting prisoners to acquire a new sense of self and truly rehabilitate.

    And yet, I am also a secular humanist because I believe that religious doctrine must be tested and evaluated by each individual. I favor science and reason in any conflict with religious teachings. I believe people can be fulfilled by other means than religion, as well as conduct themselves ethically without religion. I believe our understanding of the universe is benefitted by religious inquiry, but also that such inquiry must build upon itself in a larger body of knowledge.

    Accordingly, the best definition of secular humanism is tolerance toward religious practice and respect for the right not to practice, and not, as you state, a philosophy aimed at destroying religion.

  • Reynardine

    Well, Brock, you’re talking like a weasel again. No surprise, since I doubt you have it in you to become a man.

  • Brock Henderson

    Reynardine, if you believe that about Jesus, then you know precisely nothing about Him or Christianity.

  • Brock Henderson

    CoralSea, you can try all you want to paint a face of “religious neutrality” – a total oxymoron – upon what is in reality an indisputably anti-religious ideology called secular humanism. The point and purpose of the modern-day drive to purge the public square of religion is to ABOLISH AND DESTROY religion. Everybody with a brain knows this. You cannot fool anybody. Now, my dear, I ask for evidence of your claim. Prove that it is a legal reality here in America, per the consent of the American people via Constitutional ratification, that there can be no official imposition of religion at any level of government. If I looked back through the annals of U.S. history, certainly I wouldn’t find any state-, county-, or city-established religion, would I? . . . You know, because it is most certainly illegal and always has been?

    Yeah. This oughta be good.

  • aadila

    Apparently it went unnoticed by the SPLC (unless I’m mistaken) but James Ives, president of the Fort Bend, Texas Tea Party was also fouth in command and “Propaganda Minister” at the American Fascist Party — a supposed now defunct neo-Nazi organization aimed at establishing fascism in America.

    Ives was also a frequent commentator on right wing radio, including most notably on a station owned by Texas State Senator Dan Patrick, also of the Tea Party.

    If one seeks proof of the close ties between fascism and the Tea Party, one need look no further. All the data is out there for anyone who cares to look.

  • CoralSea

    Brock –

    You can judge all you want — but you cannot impose your religion (or, I should say, your take on Christianity) on the rest of us.

    Although your more objectionable posts have been removed, I can say, after having read them, that you are a very angry and unhappy man. In all seriousness, I suggest you look into whether you are suffering from clinical depression. Depression doesn’t just make you sad — it can also cause one to have frequent and irrational rages.

    I have a relative who suffers from these rages — and was also at one time very consumed by religion. He could be extremely scary, and he has basically wasted a large portion of his life. He dropped the religious component, which helped, but he still goes berserk periodically, raging about everything from minorities to why people are still wearing jeans (which he hates).

    When he isn’t raging, he is intelligent and talented, but predictably, he has very few friends. This is very sad, considering how wound up he gets over things that simply don’t warrant that much drama.

    I believe you may have a similar problem and might benefit from anti-depressants. Please consider it. Life is too precious to waste being angry and self-righteous all the time.

  • Reynardine

    Yeah, Brock, we can’t have a Christianity based on the teachings of that pinko, Jesus, can we?

  • CoralSea

    Wrong heifer — I must agree with Reynardine about you having eaten some (really) bad silage.

    As for your list:

    wrongheifer said,

    1. Dignified Work

    2. Environmental Justice

    3. Economic Redistribution

    4. Democratic Participation

    5. Community Empowerment

    6. Global Non-Violence

    7. Social Justice

    Now — what parts of that DON’T you agree with? While I don’t hold with the idea of taking huge amounts of the money that the wealthy earn, considering the current situation, I believe something in regard to “fair taxation” needs to help level the playing field. And I will tell you why.

    First, a lot of the very rich obtain their “income” not from wages but from capital gains, which are taxed at a much lower rate than wages. While the idea behind a lower rate for capital gains is to encourage investment, I think that given the huge disparity in wealth that we are now seeing, there should be a threshhold after which a higher rate is charged.

    Second, the owners/major shareholders of some of our larger companies have managed to push at least some of what they should be paying their employees onto the taxpayers. An example is WalMart, which pays many of its employees so poorly that they qualify for food stamps and other benefits for the poor. I don’t blame the employees for this — I blame WalMart and other companies that follow similar practices. And the irony is that they complain about how poor freeloaders suck of all of these government funds. They should look in the mirror.

    Third, the demonization and systematic destruction of the unions has done damage to wages throughout the country. You don’t have to have a union job to benefit from unions. All wages are higher in states that do not have anti-union “right to work” laws.

    Rather than going on, I will end this discussion by explaining that I grew up in a very affluent area and in a very affluent family. Taxes were higher then, and the “rich” weren’t (for the most part) as mega-rich as some of them are now. But guess what? We had more stuff than you could imagine. $100,000 horses. Rolls Royces and Mercedes. $1 million plus houses. Hell — we even had servants, although as I kid, I simply found them annoying because they were more adults to boss you around.

    However, at the same time, there was also a strong and populous working class and it was also still quite possible for large numbers of people who had been born poor to get an education and work their way up the economic ladder.

    So what I am saying is that we need to go back to a more equitable distribution of income that allows for the exceptional to live well — to even be rich — but that does not skew the distribution so seriously toward a very small percent that the rest of the population is barely scraping by. Why ANYONE thinks it is acceptable for anyone in a first-world country and economic power-house like America to wonder where their next meal is coming from, or be homeless or at risk of homelessness is beyond me. The only answer I can come up with is individual greed — or perhaps a burning desire to suck up to the uberrich in hopes that they will toss you a few crumbs. We are better than that, or we should be.

    As for the other items on the list: Hell, yes! To all of them.

    Now please return to your barn. Obviously, your udder is too full and you need to be milked but good.

  • Brock Henderson

    Haha, Ellen, I am completely aware of the difference between the Old and New Testaments. And my dear, there are other parts of the New Testament besides the Gospels. There’s . . . uh . . . oh yeah, the OTHER 23 BOOKS, which is to say there is more to Christian doctrine than just the words spoken by Jesus. Christianity defined only by the Social Gospel is NON-Christianity. Secular humanism. Atheism. Separation from Christianity. Pick any of the aforementioned phrases or a combination thereof.

    Christianity, by the way, IS a religion of judgment in one way – judgment of SIN, meaning discernment of what it is from what it isn’t. Judgment of PEOPLE, of course, is different, and there is no doubt that Christianity does not permit that.

  • Aron

    Wrongheifer seems to have come down with Mad Cow.

    Time to cull the herd.

  • Reynardine

    Wrong heifer, it sounds like you got hold of the wrong silage.