Weekend (Culture) Warriors: Some Things I Learned At The Values Voter Summit

The Values Voter Summit -- it's educational!

As I mentioned on Friday, I spent the weekend attending the “Values Voter Summit,” the annual Religious Right uber-conference sponsored by the Family Research Council and its allies. This was the sixth time I’ve been to this event, and I wasn’t the only one there from Americans United. (Barry Lynn and three other staffers were there as well.)

I can’t speak for those other folks, but I know I always learn things at the Summit. Naturally, I’m eager to share that information with you. So here are some tidbits you might not have known. Read them and be enlightened. (No, there’s no need to thank me.)

The “occupy Wall Street” protestors have poor personal hygiene and are losers. This comes from right-wing radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham, who assured everyone that the protestors are “unwashed” and that they live “in their parents’ basement” and “are on Craigslist all day.” (House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was kinder; he described the Americans exercising their rights to peacefully assemble and engage in free speech about the economy and Wall Street greed as “mobs.”)

Liberals despise marriage. Do you consider yourself a political liberal or a progressive? Are you married or do you aspire to be married? If so, what’s the matter with you? Liberals hate marriage, says Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation. Here’s the exact quote: “The left hates the institution of marriage. They simply hate it.” And, oh, you know how some high schools make condoms available? You thought that was to cut down on teen pregnancy, but Rector knows better. It is done “to get gay liberation in the classrooms.” Amazingly, this absurd bigot is often quoted in major newspapers as if he knew what he was talking about.

If you don’t have the money to pay for college, you can just go to the public library. It’s free. Glenn Beck says this approach worked for him. Are you going to argue with success?

Patriotic songs have the power to ward off terrorist attacks. Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association’s director of issue analysis for government and public policy, has made a career out of saying crazy stuff. It must be hard for Fischer to outdo himself every year, but somehow he does. (At times, I’m convinced that Fischer is walking street theater created by Dadaists. Research is ongoing.) Anyway, Fischer told the crowd that the reason we haven’t experienced a terrorist attack since 9/11 is because people attending Major League baseball games now sing “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch instead of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The Summit audience did not collectively cry out, “Seriously, dude, are you out of your mind?” Instead, they clapped.

America’s churches are silent. Retired Army Gen. William Boykin told the crowd the church in America is not only persecuted, it is silent. That was news to me. I hear churches speaking out all of the time, from the right and left, on every conceivable issue. Most of them have denominational lobbying offices here in Washington specifically to make their voices heard on public policy matters. Maybe it’s time for a new hearing aid, General.

Parts of the Constitution are based on the Bible. This came from Boykin again. What he actually said is that the Constitution is based on a series of sermons delivered during the colonial era, and he implied that the Bible is somehow incorporated into the Constitution. Unfortunately, he did not name the specific parts. I’m guessing that the top candidates include the Full Faith and Credit provision and the Interstate Commerce Clause.

Ed Meese was one of the greatest figures of the 20th century. Meese, who served as attorney general during the Reagan administration, was honored at a banquet on Saturday night. Several speakers mentioned the Meese pornography commission. And we all know what a success that was. You hardly ever see that stuff around today.

Now you know why I go to the Summit every year. It’s educational!

OK, I’ve had some fun with this crew, but here’s what’s not funny: Religious Right zealots hold views like this, yet top congressional leaders and presidential hopefuls still flock to their meeting to seek support and promise to enact their agenda. Not so amusing, huh?

P.S. I’ve just scratched the fundamentalist surface here. We’ll post a full report online tomorrow at www.au.org. Don’t miss it.