2011 in Quotes: Religious Freedom

by TFN

With 2011 winding down, it’s  time for our annual review of what we heard from the far right over the past year. Following are quotes that demonstrate a fundamental lack of respect — from elected officials and candidates for public office to other right-wing ideologues — for the faith and religious freedom of all Americans. You can read quotes from 2010 and 2009 here.

“One nation under God, there is no separation.”

– The chorus from a song performed at a religious-right gala that drew right-wing politicians like former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, to the East Texas town of Lufkin. Talk to Action, April 12, 2011

“There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit. But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister…. Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

– Governor-elect Robert Bentley of Alabama, speaking at a Montgomery (Ala.) church at an event commemorating Martin Luther King’s birthday. Birmingham News, January 17, 2011

“All law is legislated morality. The only question is whose morality. Because morality is based on faith, there is no such thing as religious neutrality in law or morality. . . . Ultimately, there are only two views: Either God is the final authority, and we acknowledge His unchanging standards of behavior. Or man is the final authority, and standards of behavior change at the whim of individuals or societies.”

– From a poster Richland County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court Judge James Deweese put up in his courtroom along with the Ten Commandments. A federal appeals court has ruled that the poster violates the First Amendment rights of lawyers and litigants appearing before him. Politics Daily, February 2, 2011

“I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

– Former Republican U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, courting evangelical voters in Texas as he prepares for a likely bid for his party’s presidential nomination. Politico, March 27, 2011

“It’s not just Jews or Muslims. It’s anybody that rejects the free gift of salvation through Christ. The Bible teaches there’s heaven and hell. Those who believe go to heaven. Those who don’t go to hell.”

– Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, defending his group and its sponsorship of “The Response,” a Christian prayer event hosted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Houston in August. Texas Tribune, June 7, 2011

“A lot of people want to criticize what we’re doing, as if we’re somehow being exclusive of other faiths. But anyone who comes to this solemn assembly regardless of their faith tradition or background, will feel the love, grace, and warmth of Jesus Christ in that assembly hall, in that arena. And that’s what we want to convey, that there’s acceptance and that there’s love and that there’s hope if people will seek out the living Christ. And that’s the message we want to spread on August 6th.

– Eric Bearse, event spokesman for the hate group American Family Association and former speech writer for Gov. Rick Perry, saying that although “The Response” in August was intended as a Christian service, it would be open to all faiths and traditions. American Independent, June 14, 2011

“This is exactly what the founders wanted, what you see here today. … Our founders believed that our public policy should be aligned with the laws of nature and the laws of God. … Marriage is one of those things. Marriage is between one man and one woman, and we tamper with that at our peril.”

– Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, in comments to a reporter during Gov. Perry’s August prayer and fasting rally the AFA helped organize in Houston. San Antonio Current, August 10, 2011

“My argument all along has been that the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion.”

— The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, asserting that the First Amendment does not apply to Mormons. RightWingWatch, September 29, 2011

“A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon … There’s a thousand pastors ready to do that.”

– Remarks by Craig Bergman that prompted his resignation as Iowa political director for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2011

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