Liberty Counsel Sues GuideStar Over SPLC “hate group” Label

On Wednesday, Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit against GuideStar over the group’s decision to designate Liberty Counsel as a “hate group” on their website. The lawsuit charges that GuideStar’s actions violated the Lanham Act, a federal statute that prohibits false and misleading statements that create harm for businesses or organizations. GuideStar is also charged with state law violations of Interference with Business Expectancy and Defamation. Liberty Counsel is seeking a permanent injunction, damages, and attorney’s fees and costs.

“We want to stop the lies because this kind of reporting is defamatory, it’s reckless, and it’s dangerous,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization whose mission is to advance pro-life, pro-marriage, and religious liberty public policy. In 2015 the organization made international news when it represented Kim Davis, a Kentucky country clerk who refused to comply with a federal court order directing her to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Wednesday’s lawsuit comes after Liberty Counsel, along with 45 other conservative organizations, was designated as a “hate group” on GuideStar’s website. Although GuideStar has since removed the moniker, they said they would continue to provide the “hate group” information upon request. GuideStar advertises itself as the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations and provides information about mission, legitimacy, reputation, finances, transparency and governance to potential big-time donors.

According to GuideStar CEO Jacob Harold, the criteria used to label conservative organizations with the undesirable designation was “the fact that they had been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).” Thus, based solely on the SPLC’s recommendation, leading pro-family groups such as Liberty Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Family Association, and the Family Research Council were labeled “hate groups.” GuideStar purports to monitor 1,684,038 nonprofit organizations, but chose to only characterize 46 (mostly Christian conservative organizations) as “hateful.”

Although GuideStar claims to be nonpartisan, relying on the SPLC betrays a liberal bias. In fact, even liberal commentators have noted the SPLC’s longstanding animus toward conservatives groups. Alexander Cockburn (a noted liberal), recently described the SPLC leaders as the “archsalesmen of hatemongering.” The Foreign Policy Magazine also concluded that the SPLC’s method for designating groups as “hate groups” is flawed because they are not objective.

Further, SPLC has been linked to the 2012 attempted murder at the Washington, D.C. office of the Family Research Council. The gunman, Floyd Corkins II admitted to the FBI that he was motivated by the “Hate Map” on the SPLC website that listed the Family Research Council as a “hate group.”

Given the SPLC’s reputation, GuideStar’s decision to partner with them raises questions. Although CEO Jacob Harold recently stated that “GuideStar does not engage in partisan politics,” the facts suggest otherwise. Putting aside Mr. Harold’s own liberal political activism (Harold served as host for a NARAL pro-abortion men’s event in 2014, donated to the Obama campaign in 2011, and has written extensively on climate change), GuideStar has admitted that there are “legitimate critiques of SPLC’s analysis” and that the SPLC has been accused of political bias. Further, SPLC leadership has been quite clear about their organization’s objective. Mark Potok, Senior Fellow at SPLC, who has been with the organization since 1997 admitted once in an interview, “Our criteria for a ‘hate group,’ first of all, have nothing to do with criminality or violence or any kind… It’s strictly ideological.” He added, “I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them.”

“Despite serious concerns about the false labeling by the SPLC, GuideStar has used this harmful rhetoric for the purpose of causing financial and reputational injury to Liberty Counsel and other nonprofit organizations, said Staver. “GuideStar is playing with fire. There are unhinged people who have relied upon this reckless rhetoric to threaten and even cause physical harm and death because a person or organization was falsely labeled as a ‘hater’ or ‘hate group’ This is not a game.”

In response to the lawsuit, SPLC President Richard Cohen remained defiant, saying, “We stand ready to support our designation of Liberty Counsel as a hate group. Liberty Counsel is a group that has consistently called LGBT people ‘immoral, unnatural and self-destructive.’ It has a track record of attempting to criminalize homosexual conduct and to legalize discrimination against the LGBT community.”

BREAKING: Trump Being Investigated for Obstruction of Justice – Report

President Donald Trump is the subject of an obstruction of justice investigation, according to a report by the Washington Post.

The Post cites five anonymous sources with personal knowledge of special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the presidential election.

The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

To make matters worse for the administration, the obstruction of justice investigation reportedly did not begin until Trump abruptly fired Comey in May.

The obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president began days after Comey was fired on May 9, according to people familiar with the matter. Mueller’s office has taken up that work, and the preliminary interviews scheduled with intelligence officials indicate that his team is actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government.

This development comes only two days after a report that Trump is considering firing Mueller.

The “God” of Al Gore is not the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob

Al Gore is proving that the only sure things in life are death, taxes, and cheesy sequels.  An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power picks up where his 2006 film, An Inconvenient Truth, left off. His original climate change “documentary” was chock-full of false predictions, e.g., global warming would melt enough ice to cause a 20-foot rise in sea levels “in the near future.”

This time around, Gore is relying not just on fake science but also fake religion, some of which he shared in an interview published Thursday:

[I]f we choose to use the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet as an open sewer for 110-million tons of global-warming pollution every day, the consequences are attributable to us. And if you are a believer, as I am, I think God intends for us to open our eyes and take responsibility for the moral consequences of our actions.

Gore shared other theological insights during the interview:

The opposition to progress was rooted in an outdated understanding of morality. If somebody had told me, even seven years ago, that in 2017 gay marriage would be legal in all 50 states, and even celebrated by almost two-thirds of the American people, I would have said, “I sure hope so, but I think that’s probably unrealistic.” But it happened.

Gore and his groupies have discarded the Bible’s “outdated understanding of morality,” and now worship what Paul calls “the god of this world.” 2 Corinthians 4:4 (KJV).

The God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob has very different ideas about marriage and world-ending floods. Regarding the former, He teaches that “Male and female created He them; and blessed them.” Genesis 5:2 (KJV). For those uncertain about how this concept applies to marriage, Jesus spells it out:

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife.  Mark 10: 6-7 (KJV)

Jesus leaves no option for a Christian man to cleave to his husband or his transgender partner.

Genesis also provides a vision of the future that doesn’t match up with 20-foot sea level increases:

It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. Genesis 9: 14-15 (NKJV)

Thus, rainbows (1) are God’s promises not destroy the world by flooding and (2) are not His seal of approval upon homosexual “marriages” or anything else related to homosexuality.

It’s a free country (for now). Which means that Gore has a right to preach his fake science and make a fortune while being one of the world’s biggest environmental hypocrites. And he has a right to preach his fake religion, too, as does Nancy Pelosi, who recently proclaimed that Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord on climate change “dishonors” God.  But a day will come when Democrats such as Gore and Pelosi will answer for their perversion of Christianity.

Meanwhile, Trump is betting that, in light of his Pittsburg-not-Paris strategy, Democrats’ climate alarmism won’t win any votes they don’t already have. Given the drift towards apostasy by more and more Americans, that might not be a safe bet.

Sanders Attacks Christian Nominee

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says he will oppose oppose Russell Vought, President Trump’s deputy White House budget director pick over his writings last year that says Muslims “stand condemned” because they have rejected Jesus Christ.

Sanders says that Vought should not be confirmed because his comments were “Islamaphobic,” and that he “is not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about.”

Vought defended Wheaton College’s decision to fire a professor who said that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.”

“Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology,” Vought wrote in an article for The Resurgent. “They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Sanders called Vought’s comments “indefensible,” adding, “It is hateful. It is Islamaphobic. And it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”

Vought responded by saying “I’m a Christian and I believe in a Christian set of principles.” 

“I specifically wrote it with the intention of conveying my viewpoint in a respectful manner that avoided inflammatory rhetoric,” Vought continued.

A committee vote has not yet been scheduled.

Betsy DeVos Appoints FIRE Vice-President To Prominent Post

Betsy DeVos is probably the most controversial appointment by President Donald Trump among conservatives. I have seen a lot of concern from people on my side of the aisle that she won’t do anything to advance conservative causes on the education front. Conservatives and Republicans are pretty split on the issue of charter schools, but two topics that most people on the right side of the aisle generally tend to agree on are federally mandated standards, and suppression of free speech on college campuses. On that second issue, almost nobody has been fighting against discrimination in higher education harder or more successfully than FIRE – the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

FIRE has been a thorn in the side of left-wing campus administrators for almost two decades – fighting back against any attempt to suppress free speech, religious liberty, or due process. They’ve been an advocate for conservative and libertarian groups nationwide that have had events shut down, materials destroyed, and access revoked due to religious or political views that contradict those of liberal professors and administrators. It’s safe to say that a member of one of these groups is the last person any liberal would want in charge of higher education in America.

This, however, that is exactly what Betsy DeVos has done. According to Inside Higher Ed, she has appointed Adam Kissell, the former Vice President of Programs and Director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at FIRE, to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs at the federal Department of Education.

According to the Office of Post Secondary Education, the Higher Education Programs, which is run by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, “administers programs that broaden access to higher education and strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities. HEP also coordinates a number of higher education-related activities with states. HEP grant projects are awarded primarily to institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations and agencies, and state agencies.”

Basically, they control the purse strings and implementation of a wide-ranging group of federal higher education programs. This will hopefully provide excellent opportunities to incentive college administrators to more equitably enforce free speech standards across the board. Donald Trump has already threatened to pull federal funding from colleges such as U.C. Berkeley that discriminate against groups that hold views contrary to those of their professors and leadership.

It should be encouraging for liberty-loving conservatives to see these kinds of appointments coming from Secretary DeVos, and we can only hope this is one of many.

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BREAKING: President Trump Breaks Israel Embassy Promise

President Donald Trump has signed a waiver that will delay the move of the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the White House said Thursday. Facing a midnight deadline that would have automatically triggered the embassy move, the President decided to break his promise and maintain the status quo.

As the deadline approached yesterday, sources at the White House late Wednesday indicated that the President would likely continue his predecessors’ practice of signing six-month waivers that prevent the embassy’s relocation. This is despite promises on the campaign trail that moving the embassy would be a foreign policy priority designed to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations after eight strained years under President Obama.

When asked by reporters on Wednesday about the impending deadline, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was vague, saying, “Once we have a decision, we’ll put it out.”

Despite the decision, the White House insisted today: “While President Donald J. Trump signed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance. As he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.”

For a President who campaigned on the promise of bold and courageous leadership, this is a cowardly, and frankly shocking failure in leadership. Reneging on this promise is a spectacular disappointment for pro-Israel supporters and voters who resonated with Trump’s strong positions on Israel. For a young administration still lacking a significant, substantive foreign policy accomplishment, moving the embassy is a pro-America, pro-Israel decision that would have set the trajectory and tone of Trump’s foreign policy, particularly in regards to the Middle East. Thus, today’s decision is not just a missed opportunity, it is a failure in leadership.

During the 2016 presidential campaign then candidate-Trump boldly promised, “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem. And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between American and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.”

He also promised: “When I become President the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one.”

Unfortunately, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen did not end on day one, and with today’s decision, will continue for at least another six months. Since assuming office, an obvious shift in rhetoric has occurred. When asked directly where the administration stood on moving the embassy, Trump said on February 10, “I am thinking about the embassy, I am studying the embassy [issue], and we will see what happens. The embassy is not an easy decision. It has obviously been out there for many, many years, and nobody has wanted to make that decision. I’m thinking about it very seriously, and we will see what happens.”

Today’s broken promise means that Israel remains the only sovereign nation in the world whose capital is not fully recognized by the United States. This is shameful, and is the type of decision we would have expected with President Hillary Clinton, not President Trump.

Eighteen years ago, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which says, “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected; Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” Despite nearly unanimous Congressional support (the law was adopted by the Senate 93-5 and the House 374-37), Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have signed a series of waivers delaying the move, citing security concerns.

The most recent waiver had been signed by President Obama in December 2016.

When asked last month about the President’s apparent about-face on the embassy issue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Israel’s position is that all embassies, particularly the US embassy, should be in Israel’s capital- Jerusalem.” According to Israeli media reports, as recently as Monday of this week Prime Minister Netanyahu attempted to persuade Trump to honor his promise. Netanyahu’s contention is that by moving the embassy the President would both correct a historical anomaly whereby the United States does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and force the Palestinians to recognize that they cannot divorce Israel and the Jewish people from Jerusalem.

Around the United States, as conservatives and Israel supporters waited for the President’s impending decision, many voiced their hope that President Trump would honor his promise and not sign the waiver. Today they are sorely disappointed.
On Wednesday, Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and President of Christians in Defense of Israel said,

Congress signed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1999. Eighteen years waiting is more than enough. It is beyond time for the United States to move the Embassy to Jerusalem. To not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel contradicts the Bible, history, present-day reality, and is anti-Semitic. Move the Embassy! Keeping the Embassy in Tel Aviv has not brought the Palestinian Authority to the table to talk peace. The Hamas government in Gaza has no interest in peace. This year, being the 50th anniversary of a united Jerusalem, is the perfect time to move the Embassy to the capital of Israel

 

How In the World Can Democrats Hate Trump?

As the Washington Post documented recently, there is an ever-shrinking window of time for President Donald Trump to score at least one legislative victory before the long Congressional August recess. That’s important for two reasons: (1) After the recess, legislation becomes far more difficult to move because nearly everyone is focused on their re-election bids; and (2) Trump is yet to get anything accomplished legislatively.

Obviously the President wants either his tax bill or his healthcare makeover pushed through in the next two months, but there is great reason to think that won’t happen. Which brings me back to the question I keep asking liberals but never get a satisfactory answer to: why does the left despise Donald Trump?

I get the crassness and boorishness, but they embraced Bill Clinton. I understand the annoying narcissism, but they adored Barack Obama. So leave personality aside, simply focus on politics, and tell me what Republican candidate would have been a better choice for them to deal with than what they have received to this point from President Trump?

  • Trump’s proposed budget cuts leave the big four liberal entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Obamacare) untouched.

 

  • Trump has promised to “invest” a trillion taxpayer dollars to rebuild the nation’s “crumbling infrastructure.” That line was pretty much plagiarized directly from Barack Obama sloganeering.

 

  • Planned Parenthood remains fully-funded with their taxpayer blood money, even after ghastly new video emerged of their abortionists laughing about tearing off baby limbs.

 

  • Trump has proposed spending more federal government money on healthcare than Obamacare already does. That isn’t repealing Obamacare, it’s enlarging it.

 

  • While his Vice President spent a career as a Congressman fighting against federal paid leave as yet another Democrat big-spending scheme, Donald Trump is introducing it.

 

  • Trump is the nation’s first openly pro-gay marriage president from the start. He held the anti-Christian “rainbow” flag of the LGBT agenda at a campaign rally in October, and recently approved the U.S. State Department allowing it to be flown over the U.S. Embassy in Macedonia despite the Macedonian disapproval of homosexual relationships.

 

  • Despite much bluster about supporting religious freedom, Trump’s administration has confirmed they will continue the Obama-imposed anti-Christian “Employment Non-Discrimination Act” at the federal level.

Please don’t misunderstand my intent here. I’m not interested in re-fighting lost battles, but can you imagine a President Rubio affirming the anti-Christian LGBT flag being flown over our embassies? Can you picture a President Walker refusing to touch entitlement spending that is bankrupting our country? Can you even fathom the Planned Parenthood butchery still receiving tax dollars under a President Cruz?

I’m asking these questions not to whine and lament what could have been for conservatives. I’m asking liberals constantly berating President Trump and besmirching his administration, at least to this point, what more could you ask for from a Republican president?

BREAKING: Afghanistan Terrorist Attack Death Toll Rises to 90; 11 Americans Injured

In one of the bloodiest attacks in recent years, an explosion outside the Afghan presidential palace has killed 90 people and injured hundreds more. Although no one has claimed responsibility, authorities believe the attack was carried out by a suicide car bomber possibly affiliated with Taliban or ISIS fighters.

The explosion targeted the diplomatic area of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, where in addition to Afghan government offices, foreign embassies, consulates, and other government buildings are located. The size and location of the attack—in the vicinity of so many embassies—demonstrates sophisticated technology and the ability to avoid high level anti-terrorism security measures.

According to reports, the blast was so powerful that windows were shattered in restaurants and other buildings over a mile from the site of the bomb’s detonation. Gen. Hassan Shah Frogh, Kabal’s police chief said that the bomb was detonated on a street adjacent to the German embassy. “The Blast was so huge that it dug a big crater as deep as four meters,” Frogh said.

According to the New York Times, the German embassy was extensively damaged. Pictures reveal shattered windows and debris scattered around the building. German officials said that several of their diplomats were injured and that an Afghan security guard employed by the embassy had been killed by the blast.

Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s President, said in a statement: “The terrorists, even in the holy month of Ramadan, the month of goodness, blessing and prayer, are not stopping the killing of our innocent people.”

Hugo Llorens, the current Special Charge d’ Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul (President Trump has not yet appointed an ambassador to Afghanistan) released a statement that reads in part:

“Our commitment is unwavering; we stand with the Afghan people and the Government of the National Unity as they strive to build a brighter, safe tomorrow for the people of this great nation. The struggle in Afghanistan is a fight between the overwhelming majority of Afghans who wish to build a better future for themselves, their families, and their noble land, pitted against small but despicable and barbaric cults who only know death and destruction. On behalf of the Embassy and the American people, I offer my deepest condolences to the families of all those killed and hope for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

UPDATE: According to reports, 11 U.S. citizens were among the hundreds injured in an attack in the diplomatic area in Kabul that killed at least 90 people. The Americans were contract personal who work in the area.