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Liberty Counsel Dips Toes in the ‘Patriot’ Pool

The Liberty Counsel for Law and Policy is traditionally known for its pro bono litigation work with regard to perceived slights against the practice of Christianity in schools and other public venues, as well as its work against abortion and LGBT rights. It was no surprise, therefore, when its president, Mathew Staver, and Matt Barber, on staff at Liberty University, recently assailed the American Psychological Association (APA) for its support of LGBT people and same-sex marriage on their Faith and Freedom radio show.

It was standard Liberty Counsel rhetoric: Gay men and lesbians can and should change their orientation, because the Liberty Counsel considers it harmful and immoral. Barber and Staver dismissed leading, reputable mainstream organizations and instead touted the findings of small religious (often Christian-only) groups like the American Association of Christian Counselors, which the Liberty Counsel has said is larger than the APA (the APA has 154,000 members, while the AACC claims "nearly 50,000").

What's more surprising is that the Liberty Counsel seems to be dipping its toes into the anti-government “Patriot” pool. Patriot groups see the federal government as part of a conspiracy to impose a socialistic one-world government – or “New World Order” – on freedom-loving Americans. They often rail against involvement with the United Nations, worry about government instituting martial law, and express fears about "creeping socialism" (more recently, "creeping Shariah law") and other government plots to undermine freedom.

In a recent fundraising letter, the Liberty Counsel included a "2011 State of the Nation Issues Survey," in which participants check boxes that range from "strongly agree" to "disagree" when prompted by specific statements. Along with its usual claims –  that LGBT people want "special rights," that public schools should not teach the "homosexual agenda," and the false claim that hate crime legislation punishes Americans for opposition to "the homosexual lifestyle" – the survey included other sections on "Homeland Security" and "Radical Islam."  In the "Homeland Security" section, one statement says, "American soldiers should never be forced to submit to the authority of U.N. commanders, nor wear a U.N. uniform." Another says, "Ethnic profiling should be used to prevent further terrorist attacks, as Israel does."

The Liberty Counsel also jumps on the anti-Islamic bandwagon in its "Radical Islam" section. There, participants are to respond to statements like "America should never incorporate Muslim Sharia law into our legal and economic systems, as is being promoted by the U.S. Muslim community." And, sounding more like a Tea Party group, the survey's statements in the "Economic/Domestic" section include calls to lower personal and business taxes, repeal Obama's socialized health care, increase oil drilling in Alaska, and impeach “activist federal judges."

The letter accompanying the survey claims that thanks to the collective efforts of the Liberty Counsel and like-minded individuals and groups, "the slide to socialism has been slowed for now," even though "We have seen Barack Obama's vision for this nation as a socialist, big government, limited freedom, anti-life, anti-marriage, pro-homosexual America that apologizes for its religious heritage."

So, for a donation of $25 or more, the Liberty Counsel offers both a copy of  Mathew Staver's Take Back America, and a copy of The Patriot's Handbook of American Liberty, which includes the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, Patrick Henry's speech before the Virginia House of Burgesses, and an essay by Mat Staver. If you can't afford the $25, that's OK. The Liberty Counsel will provide a copy of The Patriot's Handbook for any amount. In other words, join them in the pool.

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