Christians United for Israel 2012 Summit Headlined by Michele Bachmann and David Barton
[Correction: Ambassador Oren was scheduled to speak at the CUFI event, but remained in Israel to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.]
Bachmann, Barton, and Beck
Rep. Michelle Bachmann claims that separation of church and state is a myth, but while attacking separation, Bachmann simultaneously engages in conspiracy theories about Muslims infiltration of American government. Bachmann and four other members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of State claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security and that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff and wife of Anthony Weiner, is part of an Islamist conspiracy. Her attacks on Abedin have resulted in a bipartisan backlash including from her former campaign chief, Ed Rollins, and Sen. John McCain. McCain defended Huma Abedin, calling the accusations against her "ugly" and "sinister."
Bachmann says her claims are supported by Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy (CSP). Gaffney, a regular at the CUFI summits, is possibly the nation's most prominent anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and has claimed that Grover Norquist is part of the Muslim Brotherhood's infiltration of the U.S. (Norquist's wife is Muslim.) One of that latest exploits of Gaffney's CSP is the driving force behind Tennessee county GOP resolutions calling for the Republican governor to stop hiring or retaining Muslims, gays, and Democrats. CSP's target is another young Muslim woman professional, Samar Ali, recently hired as the international director for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
The CSP is a right-wing nonprofit heavily funded by the Scaife foundations. CSP produced the 2010 report "Shariah: The Threat to America," written by their "Team B II," which was lead by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William "Jerry" Boykin. Since his retirement from the military, Boykin travels the country speaking at end times prophecy events and calling for the application of principles of military warfare to "spiritual warfare" against those Boykin believes to be demonic. Boykin was featured in a popular Oak Initiative video claiming there is a Marxist insurgency in America (video) and other anti-Obama conspiracy theories. He has recently been named the executive vice president of the Family Research Council.
Also see Manufacturing the Muslim Menace, a report by Political Research Associates (PRA), which "details a systemic failure to regulate content in nationwide counter-terrorism training" and Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America by the Center for American Progress.
Bachmann was introduced at the CUFI summit on Tuesday evening by John Hagee. She called for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and for recognition of the "1980 annexation of the Golan Heights and any settlements Israel as a sovereign state chooses to annex."
The choice of Michele Bachmann as a keynote speaker was not an aberration for CUFI. CUFI's founder John Hagee markets the same type of conspiracy theories blended with end times prophecy and Hagee and other CUFI leaders have no use for separation of church and state. (See John Hagee shouting from the pulpit that atheists should leave the country, during a June 2012 sermon.) This year's CUFI summit headliners included David Barton, who was featured in a Jewish publication 18 years ago as a threat to separation of church and state. Last year's keynote speaker was none other than the controversial Glenn Beck.
In 1994, the American Anti-Defamation League (ADL) published a book-length guide to the threat to separation of church and state titled The Religious Right: The Assault on Tolerance and Pluralism in America. There are numerous references to Barton and an appendix by Rob Boston (see his recent article on Barton) dedicated to countering the claims of Barton and other Religious Right revisionists. From page 54,
"Barton's vision of America as a Christian nation usurped, mocked, and plunged into chaos by a godless elite clearly excites feelings of resentment and victimization among conservative evangelicals. Distrust of democratic structures is exacerbated, as is suspicion of and hostility toward the differently minded and faithed."
It was the ADL that documented Barton's speaking engagements in 1991 to white supremacist groups, a topic also covered in the 1994 ADL publication.
David Barton has been popular for decades with the Religious Right and more recently with Tea Party groups, but his reach expanded dramatically when he and his Wallbuilders Ministry were promoted through Glenn Beck's media. Beck featured Barton regularly on his Fox News show and his Beck University an online class at the cost of $9.95 per month. Barton was also a featured speaker at Beck's "American Revival," a series of stadium events held around the country and described as
"...creating a pathway to enable Americans to walk away from the nightmare of government control and back to the freedom-loving founders of the United States and the Constitution."
Barton served as an appointed advisor to the elected Texas Board of Education that made controversial changes to the state's social studies curriculum standards. On July 16, Barton was the winner of a History News Network poll asking readers to vote for the least credible history books or "those most worthy of being placed in the fiction shelves of the local library."
PFAW's report on Barton includes quotes from Sen. Arlen Specter from 1995 (when he was still a Republican).
In 1995, Republican Senator Arlen Specter wrote in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy that many of Barton's arguments "range from the technical to the absurd" and that they "proceed from flawed and highly selective readings of both text and history." Specter went on to state that Barton's "pseudo-scholarship would hardly be worth discussing, let alone disproving, were it not for the fact that it is taken so very seriously by so many people."Ironically, the sole Jewish director of CUFI is David Brog, a former chief of staff for Sen. Specter.
Barton played a major role in organizing Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, held on the Washington Mall in August 2010, including organizing and briefing "prayer warriors" from around the nation on conference calls. CUFI founder John Hagee led the prayer closing the "Divine Destiny" event held at the Lincoln Center the evening before the Tea Party/Religious Right rally and took the opportunity to attack pluralism and the "politcally correct fog."
Glen Beck was the headliner for the CUFI Summit in July 2011. Prior to his departure from Fox in June 2011, Beck had infuriated Jewish rabbis and leaders for his repeated use of the Holocaust for political purposes, his attacks on Reform Judaism, and his claims that George Soros was a Nazi collaborator. (Soros was 13 years old when the Nazis occupied his native Hungary and survived by taking the false identity as "Sandor Kiss" and living with a non-Jewish family as their godson.) Over 400 rabbis signed a letter in the Wall Street Journal asking that Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes "sanction Glenn Beck."
Less broadly publicized was Beck's promotion of virulently anti-Semitic authors Elizabeth Dilling and Eustace Mullins. Dilling was the author of The Jewish Religion: It's Influence Today Her anti-Semitism and claims that Jews were taking over America and trying to enforce Talmudic law are a remarkable parallel to today's Islamophobia and claims that Muslims are trying to enforce Shariah law in America. Dilling's material is still used by many online sites that demonize the Talmud, including a deceptive website that is advertised as an "an educational forum for the examination of religious truth and religious tolerance." ( Scroll down to the graphics of the bloody handprint and the U.S. flag with a Star of David.)
Beck also promoted a book by the late Eustace Mullins, another overt anti-Semite who wrote extensively about a Rothschild/Federal Reserve conspiracy to destroy America. I posted two articles on this at Talk2action, including one supporting Dana Milbank's description of Beck as a "leading purveyor of anti-Semitic memes in mass media" and another on CUFI executive David Brog's defense of Beck.
Beck's absolution was attempted through a surprise trip to Israel in May 2011 with David Barton. This was followed by a trip to Auschwitz. Beck then keynoted the 2011 CUFI summit in July, presenting himself as a great defender of Jews and Israel.
The trio of Beck, Barton and Hagee returned to Israel later last summer for Beck's "Restoring Courage" rallies. Beck promoted the event to his GBTV audience saying,
This is a real Christian event so it might make some people uncomfortable, because it is the only event that is uber-Christian."Members of the U.S. House of Representatives appealed to House Speaker John Boehner to travel at public expense through the International Israel Allied Caucus, a caucus formed in the House in 2006 as a parallel of the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus. Boehner denied the request and the costs were reportedly paid by Barton's non-profit Wallbuilders. Speakers included end times prophecy writer Mike Evans and Matthew Staver, Dean of Liberty University Law School, another warrior against the "myth" of separation of church and state.
Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN), which broadcasts John Hagee in its regular programming, had just been permitted by Israel to establish a television studio in Jerusalem in June 2011. Paul Crouch, founder of TBN, had been trying to gain broadcast access in Israel since 1975 and celebrated the "glorious news" of their Jerusalem studio with an announcement to their viewers.
"Oh, partners, Bible history is in the making! Yes, you and I, in fact all of us that love Jerusalem and TBN, can have a part in seeing this prophecy of Isaiah come to pass!"TBN broadcasted Beck's August Restoring Courage events globally. TBN is advertised as the world's largest Christian television network, on 5,000 television stations and 33 satellites. It's International Production Center is in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
My op-ed on Beck's Israel events, titled "With friends like Glenn Beck..." was published in both the Hebrew and English versions of the Israeli newpaper Ha'aretz. From the op-ed:
"Beck has used his media platforms to promote secular anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and evangelical end-times prophets. What these two groups have in common is an obsession with Jews and the belief that Jews control and manipulate the lives and destiny of non-Jews."Beck is a convert to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormon Church. He has been surprisingly successful in garnering support and partnerships with right-wing evangelicals, although he has alienated many other Christians. One of Beck's ongoing rants before he left Fox was against social justice, which he described as being the rallying cry of both Nazis and Communists. He called for Christians to leave churches that promote "social justice" or "economic justice."
Beck regularly featured Hagee on his shows, both during his time at Fox News and previously at CNN. This included a 2007 interview on CNN in which Hagee and Beck discussed the rule of the Antichrist. Hagee told Beck that he believed the Antichrist is alive today and that the world as we know it will end within 20 years.
After leaving Fox News, Beck moved his family and media empire from Connecticut to the Dallas area of Texas, the home state of Hagee and Barton and perhaps the epicenter of American Christian Zionism. Although Colorado Springs was its previous Mecca, the Dallas area has become one of the major centers of the apostolic and prophetic movement. Also known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), it's leaders increasingly dominate international Christian Zionists activism and support Messianic Jewish missions to Jews in Israel. Beck's GBTV now has studio space in Irving, Texas.
David Barton shares Beck's suspicion of "economic justice." Barton teaches that the Bible calls for free market capitalism and opposed labor unions and most types of taxes. Barton also claims that Jesus was opposed to the minimum wage.
Right Wing Watch reported last week on another upcoming Beck event titled "Restoring Love" to be held on July 28 at Texas Stadium in Irving, and featuring David Barton, John Hagee, Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks and many others. On the day preceding the event, a local church will host "Under God Indivisible," a conference including John Hagee, David Barton, James Robison, Franklin Graham, Samuel Rodriguez, Harry Jackson, and a who's who of the religio-political right.
Christians United for Israel 2012 Summit Headlined by Michele Bachmann and David Barton | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden)
Christians United for Israel 2012 Summit Headlined by Michele Bachmann and David Barton | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden)