Monday, December 04, 2006

Recent religious right failures and more

Over the last six months, the religious right waged a massive campaign in hopes of influencing the mid-term elections. They aggressively sought to destroy the hope provided by embryonic stem cell research, deny equal rights to gay and lesbian Americans, and tell women what they can and can't do with their own bodies. But they failed.

This failure included:
Winning only one of the eight Senate races targeted by the religious right;
Losing the draconian, religious-right crafted, South Dakota abortion ban; and,
Failing to stop passage of Missouri's constitutional amendment protecting embryonic stem cell research.

Religious right leaders will continue to claim things turned out in their favor, but they knew this fall when James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Gary Bauer were met with empty arenas during their national get out the vote stadium tour that their agenda was in trouble. Keep up the amazing work everyone! If you'd like to make a gift to fight for more victories against the religious right, click here.

PERA Senate Alert
Earlier this month, James Dobson emailed his supporters, urging them to contact their senators and demand they bring the Public Expression of Religion Act (PERA) to a vote before the new Congress takes office in January. PERA, which passed the House of Representatives this September and is an integral piece of the religious right's agenda, aims to dramatically weaken our nation's commitment to the separation of church and state. If passed, it would undermine the ability of Americans to legally challenge infringements of the establishment clause - like prayer in public schools or the display of the Ten Commandments on public property. Just a month ago, this bill didn't have a prayer for passage in the Senate. Now, the religious right is hoping to capitalize on the lame duck session, forcing one more victory for the religious right out of this Senate before the new Senate takes office in January.
Thankfully, PERA has not been scheduled to be debated in the Senate's few remaining days. We will let you know immediately if that changes. Learn more about PERA and Dobson's effort at the DefCon Blog.

Bush Hands Religious Right Major Victory
One thing is clear: The religious right still has enormous influence over President Bush. On November 16th, the President handed the religious right a major victory, appointing Eric Keroack - an anti-choice, anti-contraception religious extremist - to head the family-planning programs of the Department of Health and Human Services. DefCon advisory board member and religious right expert Michelle Goldberg had this to say about the President's announcement: "As we all know, Bush has made some spectacularly bad personnel decisions, but even by the degraded standards of this administration, the appointment of Eric Keroack to oversee Title X is striking." Click here to read Michelle Goldberg's blog post on this dangerous appointment on the DefCon Blog.

Religious Right's Hypocrisy Hall of Fame - In the wake of the stunning scandal surrounding former National Association of Evangelicals president Ted Haggard, DefCon launched the Religious Right's Hypocrisy Hall of Fame, asking members if they thought the revelations regarding Pastor Ted were the most hypocritical moment in the religious right's history. Well, the votes are in and you responded with a resounding YES!

Ted Haggard won with 54.4% of the vote. To recap, Haggard abruptly resigned from presidency of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals after a male escort alleged that Haggard had paid him for sex nearly once a month for the last three years. Haggard had long been a key leader of the religious right and a fervent opponent of same sex unions.

Ralph Reed is the runner-up with 22.3% of the vote. Reed duped anti-gambling Christians - with buddy and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff - into supporting his ploy to help casino interests. For his efforts Reed received millions from Abramoff and his Casino clients.

Jimmy Swaggart got 5.2% of your votes. Admitted during televised Sunday morning sermon to having extramarital sex with a prostitute only a year after chastising Jim Bakker - another Hall of Hypocrisy finalist - for his own adulterous behavior

Jim Bakker got 4.5% of ballots cast. Paid hush money to his secretary with whom he was having an affair. Served five years in prison for fraud, tax evasion, and racketeering. Now paroled, televanglist Bakker hosts the "Jim Bakker Show."

Thank you again for all your hard work. Be sure to stay tuned to the DefCon blog for breaking news.

No comments: