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Aug 31 2012

Schlafly Lies About Obama and Religious Liberty

At a “Faith and Freedom” rally that preceded the Republican National Convention in Tampa, religious right leader Phyllis Schlafly offered up a pack of lies and half-truths to the crowd about Obama’s record on religious liberty. This is all part of the right’s “ZOMG, Obama is going to destroy Christianity” offensive (a perfect word, in both senses). James Rainey counts them down:

Schlafly, speaking Sunday at the historic Tampa Theater, began with the canard about Obama refusing to use the word “creator” when he quotes from the Declaration of Independence. Only problem: anyone with YouTube access can readily find multiple clips of Obama quoting the “endowed by their creator” language.

She then rolled out the half-truth about Obama refusing to mention God in his Thanksgiving Day address. While literally true, the claim ignores the fact that he did mention God in his written message to the nation and that past presidents of both parties had a mixed record of bringing the Almighty into Turkey Day discourse. Even Dana Perino, former spokeswoman to President George W. Bush and current Fox News host, said she found the Thanksgiving Day claim against Obama a stretch.

Really rolling at this point with the crowd’s approval, Schlafly told how Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., where veterans and active-duty military receive medical treatment, had effectively banned Bibles.

The conservative gadfly forgot a couple of points: Obama had nothing to do with the rule. The military issued the directive to prevent proselytizing and never enforced it, before realizing it had erred.

She also claimed that Obama “would not allow the traditional White House celebration of the National Day of Prayer.” That’s another half-truth. Obama did not host an event at the White House but he did issue a proclamation, as every president has for the last 60 years. Reagan and the first President Bush only held one such event in their time in office, but I doubt Schlafly declared them to be enemies of Christianity because of it.

The religious right might as well make their motto “We’re immune to facts.”

16 comments

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  1. 1
    grumpyoldfart

    Really rolling at this point with the crowd’s approval

    There it is in a nutshell. These people are preaching to the converted. They don’t care if every other person on the planet recognizes their lies; as long as the audience votes Republican, that’s all that counts.

  2. 2
    Area Man

    Is there anything that Schlafly has not lied about? She is possibly the most truth-averse person in political punditry, and given the competition for that title, that’s really saying something. I have never seen a single thing she’s written or said that wasn’t chock full of errors, lies, and nonsense.

    I grew up in the aftermath of the failed ERA amendment, which Schlafly was the most notorious opponent of. I never learned much about the amendment itself at that age (it’s mostly obsolete today), but remember hearing weird and lurid tales about what it might have led to, like unisex bathrooms. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that those were simply lies peddled by Schlafly that caught on through repetition, and I wondered to myself, how could anyone get away with that? Silly me.

  3. 3
    d cwilson

    Lying is now SOP for the religious right and for conservatives ever and they will keep on lying because it works. Until there’s actually a downside to such blatant lying, they’re going to keep it up.

    I read an article on Slate the other day which was basically an apologia for the “You didn’t build that” distortion. The argument in a nutshell was that Obama erred in making a statement that was so easily taken out of context that you can’t blame republicans for pouncing on it.

    That’s where we are in politics today. And until the GOP suffers a landslide defeat of Mondale proportions, nothing is going to change.

  4. 4
    yoav

    The religious right might as well make their motto “We’re immune to facts.”

    In response to people pointing out the unusual number, even by republican standards, of outright lies in speeches during the RNC convention this week one of Mittens’ campaign staffers said they are not going to “be beholden to fact checkers”, politicians always lied but at least in the past they had the decency not to brag about lying.

  5. 5
    TGAP Dad

    This type of deceit and obfuscation runs in the family. For those who don’t know, Phyllis has a son, Andy, who runs conservapedia, and objected to Dr. Richard Lenski’s discoveries in his long-term e.coli experiment at MSU. Lenski himself stepped into the fray, did an amazing job of putting Andy in his place. Then Andy tried to scrub conservapedia of the embarrassing parts, and continued to lie about the experiment. The wikipedia article is here: Conservapedia Lenski dialog. Or just Google “conservapedia Lenski affair”.

  6. 6
    erichoug

    Is there anything that Schlafly has not lied about? She is possibly the most truth-averse person in political punditry, and given the competition for that title, that’s really saying something.

    Have you read her son’s blog Conservapedia? It is a truly stunning example of partisan hacksmanship and religious fanaticism. I especially love the way they pretend that they are neither partisan nor biased. If you can read the site for longer than 5 minutes and not realize that it is dedicated to far right religious and political extremism then you deserve what you get.

  7. 7
    erichoug

    @TGAP Dad

    The interesting thing about Conservapedia is that they say up front that they are Presuppositionalist. Which means that anything that conflicts with the Bible (or more specifically their highly selective interpretation of it) must be wrong. So, if reality conflicts with their religious ideology, religion must be wrong. Which tells you everything you need to know about the Schlaffleys.

  8. 8
    Area Man

    Have you read her son’s blog Conservapedia? It is a truly stunning example of partisan hacksmanship and religious fanaticism.

    Yeah, whether through genetics or upbringing, her son has inherited her amazing inability to understand or accurately transcribe readily observable reality.

    It’s just that the elder Schlafly has been doing it now for 40 years, and cannot be explained away as a product of the Gingrich revolution, Fox News, or the internet age. She’s like the ur-liar, the model for everything that came after.

  9. 9
    iknklast

    “Schlafly Lies About Obama and Religious Liberty”

    Dog bites man. News at eleven.

  10. 10
    matty1

    TGAP Dad @5 Thank you for that link, not so much for the Lenski dialogue but scrolling down I now know that Stephen Colbert is in the bible. Anyone know what role he plays, I’m thinking old testament prophet?

  11. 11
    Michael Heath

    eric houg:

    The interesting thing about Conservapedia is that they say up front that they are Presuppositionalist.

    Hey, it’s a long important sounding word, therefore it must describe an intellectually credible position. I’ve actually grew up hearing such arguments.

  12. 12
    thalwen

    OMG! A President made an entire speech without mentioning God?! That just proves he’s a Communist-Socialist-Muslim-Buddhist-Atheist-Satin Worshipper! I mean, no good Christian can still be a good Christian without mentioning God in every single sentence. And at Thanksgiving! Where we celebrate God’s providence in letting us destroy the Indian savages with disease! For him not to mention God in that context is just another example of his anti-colonialism! Why I’m sure the man even opposed apartheid!

  13. 13
    whheydt

    Re: thalwen (@12)

    OMG! A President made an entire speech without mentioning God?! That just proves he’s a Communist-Socialist-Muslim-Buddhist-Atheist-Satin Worshipper!

    Good grief! He’s a COSTUMER? That will never do…

    –W. H. Heydt

  14. 14
    typecaster

    So, if reality conflicts with their religious ideology, religion must be wrong.

    Sorry for the nitpick, but this can’t be what you intended to say.

    I’m especially fond of Conservapedia’s attempts to “disprove” special relativity. (Their jeremiads against evolution are too standard to be worth much comment.) I have to admit that they’ve tried to clean up their act in this regard, since many of the more ludicrous linking of Relativity in physics to moral relativity have been removed. (See the original here.) Even so, what remains is, itself…special. My favorite line is “More generally, and also unlike most of physics, the theories of relativity consist of complex mathematical equations relying on several hypotheses.” All by itself, that takes my breath away.

  15. 15
    caseloweraz

    Long years ago in Iowa, I attended a debate over the ERA between Phyllis Schlafly and the woman who was then president of NOW (can’t remember her name.) As I sat about halfway back in the audience, listening to Schlafly rant on and on about all the harm the ERA would do, my mind boggled at the essence of what she was saying: that it could so powerfully upset American society, yet would be powerless to bring the slightest benefit to women as it promised to do. My face gradually froze into a frown of intense disbelief. Schlafly noticed and was annoyed. At the time I felt some embarrassment. But that was then; this is now.

  16. 16
    skinnercitycyclist

    OMG! A President made an entire speech without mentioning God?! That just proves he’s a Communist-Socialist-Muslim-Buddhist-Atheist-Satin Worshipper!

    Geez, I knew they wanted to tell us what to do in our bedrooms, but never dreamed it would go this far…;)

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