Some of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s comments in Denver this week — notably, that opponents of health care reform should “slit our wrists, be blood brothers” — generated plenty of attention in the media and blogosphere. But in just three weeks, she’ll have plenty of competition for those headlines. Speaking at the “How to Take Back America” conference later this month, she’ll be sharing the stage with a pastor who says conference attendees will be trained to “turn out the infidels”; a radio host who doubts President Obama is a U.S. citizen; and a columnist who opposes statehood for Puerto Rico because he says it’s a “Caribbean dogpatch.”
Here’s a look at some of the personalities Bachmann will hobnob with in St. Louis on Sept. 25 and 26.
Last week, Rick Scarborough of Vision America gave listeners on his radio show a preview or what to expect at the conference.
“There’s always a political component to revival,” he said. “If we fell on our face at that conference and said ‘Oh God, send revival and let it start with me… with the training we receive. Then [we] go back and recruit hundreds of people like us. By next spring, the spring of 2010, we can turn out the infidels, we can help people like Michele Bachmann return to Congress.”
“God does his best work right after a crucifixion,” said Scarborough. He said that Christians felt crucified during this last election especially “with Obama controlling so much of the resources, with him stealing from the American people.”
But Scarborough is not the only outspoken rightwinger at the conference.
Don Feder, communications director of the World Congress of Families, an organization which hosts anti-LBGT events around the world, is listed as an organizer of the conference. He waited two days after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy before maligning the statesman. “Known as the ‘liberal lion of the Senate,’ Edward M. Kennedy was a fitting symbol for his creed – intellectually flabby, detached from reality, arrogant, self-righteous, hypocritical and, ultimately, useless.”
No stranger to controversy, Feder was lambasted by Latino groups for speaking out against the right of Puerto Ricans to vote for statehood. “But don’t Americans have the same right — the right not to be saddled with an impoverished, crime-ridden island of non-English speakers as our 51st state? It’s hard to imagine a worse candidate for admission to the Union than this Caribbean Dogpatch.”
Sharing the stage with Bachmann will be Janet Porter of the religious right group Faith2Action. Her latest fear is that the Obama administration will force H1N1 vaccinations on citizens, carting off those who refuse to internment camps. She’s made friends within the “birther” movement for her frequent articles calling for an investigation of President Obama because she doesn’t think he’s a citizen.
“The media bought it. The voters bought it. And now some in Congress are resisting the idea of congressional hearings because they believe that Barack Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ has been posted online,” she wrote in WorldNetDaily, a rightwing news service. “What if an imposter from another country ran for the presidency and won? What if the media blocked any news of his birthplace and citizenship?”
WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah is also a rightwing conspiracy theorist whose website encouraged readers to send letters to Obama on his birthday inquiring about his place of birth — all for the low price of $6.95. Farah is an organizer of the event as well.
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, also a conference organizer, made headlines when his group threatened to sue a school library for violating the separation of church and state for awarding children who finished Harry Potter novels with a “Hogwarts’ Certificate of Accomplishment.”
“We believe that witchcraft is a religion and the certificate of witchcraft endorsed a particular religion in violation of the First Amendment establishment clause,” Staver said of the threatened lawsuit.
Rounding out the religious right speakers at the conference is octogenarian religious right gadfly Phyllis Schlafly, who has spent the last 30 years fighting the Equal Rights Amendment, a constitutional amendment that sprang out of the Women’s Suffrage movement in the 1920s to guarantee equal rights under the law regardless of sex.
On the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on social issues in the 20th Century, Schlafly wrote: “Out went the Ten Commandments, in came condoms. Out went the Cross and pictures of Christ, in came drawings of apes pretending to walk like humans. Out went Adam and Eve, in came Heather Has Two Mommies. Out went Easter, in came Earth Day. Out went teachings against homosexuality, in came teachings in favor of homosexuality.”
Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum is reported to have said in 1996, “Many years ago Christian pioneers had to fight savage Indians. Today missionaries of these former cultures are being sent via the public schools to heathenize our children.”
Schlafly is the lead organizer of the conference and shared the stage with Bachmann several times before, including last year at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. In a webinar to supporters two weeks ago, she said, “This is the most important conference we have ever put on. Our country is in greater danger than ever before.”
|Support people-powered non-profit journalism! Volunteer, contribute news, or become a member to keep the Daily Planet in orbit.|