Archive for Gov.Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry’s Friend Bryan Fischer Doubles Down, Demands Muslim Immigrants Convert to Christianity

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2012 by loonwatch

(H/T: BA)

Fischer Doubles Down, Demands Muslim Immigrants Convert to Christianity

Early last year American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer posted a column arguing that a “sensible and sane immigration policy” would model “ancient Israel” and require every immigrant to “convert to Christianity.” Muslim immigrants in particular would be required to “drop his Islam and his Qur’an at Ellis Island.” But in what has becoming a frequent occurrence, Fischer later deleted both of the sentences, among other sentences, and altered the article to make it a tad less inflammatory.

But today on Focal Point, Fischer repeated his claim that Muslims should “convert to Christianity” in order to become American citizens, saying that immigrants must “got to embrace your God, they’ve got to embrace your faith.”

Fox News GOP Primary Debate: “1400% Increase in Murder Rate of Women in Turkey” Due to “Islamist Oriented” Government

Posted in Feature, Loon Media, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2012 by loonwatch

Women_Murdered_Turkey

It is an understatement to say that violence against women is a serious issue today, as I wrote in a previous article titled, Rampant Sexual Harassment of Women…in the West, “women are mistreated across the globe, across cultures, races, and religions at unfortunately high and gross levels.” This was proven with empirical evidence and scholarly analysis from various studies.

In the intro of the article I reminded readers that Islamphobes,

love to trot out the talking point that Muslims (due to Islam of course) are unique in harassing and oppressing women. According to them, anytime a Muslim man harasses or otherwise assaults a woman it is considered a result of Islam or somehow encouraged by “Islamic behavior.”

This belief, however, is not limited to anti-Muslim bigots but has also crept into the popular imagination and perception of the mainstream.

It is within that context that we review another recent manifestation of this “anti-Muslim talking point” creeping into the mainstream. As many of those who watched the recent South Carolina GOP Presidential Primary debate are aware, Fox News’s Brett Baier asked Gov. Rick Perry about Turkey’s “Islamist oriented” government, and what our relationship should be towards them (Turkey is one of our oldest allies). He set up the question this way,

“Since the Islamist oriented party took over in Turkey the murder rate of women has increased 1400% there…”

My jaw dropped when I heard that, what an astronomical and frankly unbelievable number! The clear implication was that the “increase in violence” was related to the rule of the so-called “Islamist oriented” AKP party. Once again something “Islam” or “Islam” related was being cast as the source and cause of violence.

Imagine the effect this had on those watching the debate? It either reinforced or created the perception that Islam and Muslims are incredibly violent towards women, and that any “Islam” oriented political party will result in a degradation of women’s rights.

Brett Baier’s question was extremely misleading to say the least. It provided no context or evidence linking the AKP party to the “increase” in murders. To say that the AKP is “Islamist oriented” is misleading as well, a more appropriate analogy may have been to the “Christian Democratic” parties in Europe.

I have found conflicting origins on the source of the “1400% increase” statistic. On some news outlets we learn that the figures were released by Women’s Rights lawyer Aydeniz Alisbah Tuskan,

The figures are based on data issued by lawyer Aydeniz Alisbah Tuskan, Co-ordinator of the Istanbul Bar Association Centre for Women’s Rights.

while others claim it was the Ministry of Justice,

According to the data of the Ministry of Justice, the number of women murders increased by factor 14 between 2002 and 2009. While 66 women were killed in 2002, this figure raised to 953 women murders in 2009. The development of the increase was documented as follows: 83 women murders in 2003; 128 in 2004; this figure more than doubled in 2005 with 317 women killings; again a sharp increase with 663 in 2006; a peak of 1011 women murders in 2007 and a small decrease in numbers in 2008 with 806 women murders.

Regardless of the source there seems to be agreement on the numbers. Tuskan in her report also added another startling fact regarding violence towards women,

The data revealed an additional startling dimension of the problem: 85 percent of about 2000 annually registered divorce applications in Istanbul are based on violence.

According to Tuskan the reason for this explosion in the number of divorce applications stemming from violence is, “based on the fact that women do not endure violence as they used to do in the past.”

This however does not address the increase in the number of murders. As Elif Shafak asks in her Guardian article, Turkey Opens it’s Eyes to Domestic Violence,

Are violent incidents against women on the rise in Turkey? Or is it just that we are finally getting a clearer picture of something that has been happening at the heart of Turkish society for some time?

If one were to listen to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it has been his government that has started compiling these statistics, whereas before his administration statistics on the issue were not even “calculated,”

While numerous sources argued over the last week that violence against women increased by 1,400 percent in the past seven years, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier this week that the issue was presented as if violence against women was on the rise. Highlighting that they would not ignore a single act of violence, Erdoğan said: “Before we started keeping track of this, statistics on the issue were not even calculated and no one was aware of these incidents. … I expect a responsible approach from both the opposition and the media over the matter and I say that, with solidarity and responsibility, we can decrease violence to the lowest level.”

I don’t see any reason to doubt Erdoğan’s assertion, however it would be vital to verify.

Either way, the statement from Erdoğan clearly contradicts Brett Baier’s misleading assertion that the so-called “Islamist-oriented” AKP which Erdoğan heads is the cause or root of the violence.

Erdoğan also went on to say,

“Violence against women is remorselessness, ruthlessness and, I say this without hesitation, contemptible”

Not really the evil, misogynist Islamic terrorist that Baier and Rick Perry thought ruled Turkey, aye?

Since the stats came out on the number of murders and incidences of violence directed against women there has been an intense debate on the subject in Turkey. It is no longer a taboo subject locked behind closed doors. There have also been massive grassroots campaigns and new legislation countering the violent trend,

In recent months, both print and visual media in Turkey have been running story after story about domestic violence: ex-husbands who shoot their ex-wives in front of their children, abusive husbands who come back to kill, boyfriends or fiancés who cannot forgive being dumped and seek revenge.

As disheartening as the situation is, there is also a growing reaction and a grassroots movement to stop it. Nowadays it is widely acknowledged that violence against women is not only confined to a few uneducated families in remote undeveloped regions. More importantly, until today, it was mainly assumed that such cases were a “family affair”. If a husband was beating his wife, this was their problem. Now this assumption is fully debunked. More and more public figures are coming out to say that domestic violence is everyone’s business and we should, as a society, interfere.

Family and social policies minister Fatma Sahin has announced that abusive husbands will be kept away from their homes with the help of electronic handcuffs. A group of men in the eastern province of Van have organised a significant march to protest at male violence. The group’s speaker proclaimed: “We are ashamed of men who attack women and do so in the name of manhood.”

University students are marching on the streets, women’s organisations are collecting signatures. Through blogs, websites, magazines, fanzines, panels and conferences activists are raising their voices, singers give concerts to honour women who have been victims of killings, writers and poets condemn the violence openly and contest it with their words. And yet, all this is not enough. Unless we change the way we raise our sons and discard our belief that they are superior to our daughters, unless we mothers stop treating our sons as the sultans in the house, nothing will be enough.

Lastly, it should be highlighted that Brett Baier’s misleading question is damaging most of all because it obfuscates the true issue of violence directed at women. It deflects from the root causes (cultural norms, cultural traditions, patriarchy) in exchange for the easy Orientalist scapegoat–Islam.

As Ilisha pointed out in her article on Honor Killing, by focusing on Islam, anti-Muslim Islamophobes are actually doing a disservice to those who are truly challenging violence towards women. Brett Baier’s question had the added effect of dehumanizing a whole nation, and I echo Ilisha’s call that Islamophobes, “give up their vicious campaign against Islam and join us in the struggle to end violence against women from all cultural and religious backgrounds.”

UPDATE I:

For further information on this topic I suggest reading The Journal of Turkish Weekly, which conducted an exclusive interview with Dilek Karal, a specialist at USAK Center for Social Studies regarding violence against women. According to Karal, there is no way to solidly identify whether murders against women have increased or decreased,

How should we read violence against women in Turkey? How accurate is it to say that violence has drastically increased in recent years?

D. Karal: There are a lot of factors which can trigger violence such as sociocultural factors, economic factors, and psychological factors in the environment where people grow up. We need to look at what conditions they become prominent under. The efforts shall target eliminating the roots of these factors. However this is not limited to the motto which is liberally used in Turkey—“education is a must”. Educated people also beat their spouses or commit different kinds of violence against them. Education is just one dimension. The issue should be tackled with integrated multi-agency policies. It is compulsory to operate family and child services efficiently, and formalize different environments where boys and girls grow up to not normalize the violence. All in all, violence as a phenomenon needs to leave our lives altogether.

For instance, Turkish Ministry of Justice 2010 data shows violence against women has increased 1400% during the last seven years. This is a very big number. According to some other data during the first seven months of 2010; 226 women were murdered while 478 women were raped and 722 women sexually abused. There are a lot of similar cases. Over 100,000 women suffered from sexual attacks. Although the numbers are as such, they cannot present us solid data regarding whether the violence has increased or decreased. This is because there are certain problems in evaluating statistical data in Turkey. The fact that they are being presented in a systematic fashion in recent years can be interpreted as the invisible tip of the iceberg slowly surfacing.

In other words, violence against women existed before as well but can now be better measured with in-depth research, which has made the issue more apparent. Without longitudinal studies it is very difficult to understand if the violence has increased or not. However, we need to underline that the existing circumstances in the context of this issue are already too tragic. According to Hacettepe University’s research, 39% of the women in this country (more than a third) are victims of physical violence and 15% are victims of sexual violence. 42% of women say that they have experienced a form of one or the other. The interesting part is the women who experienced violence did not make appeals to official units or to non-governmental organizations. More than half of them shared the situation with just close relatives. Only 8% of the women requested help from official units. This rate is very low. In a society where violence is skyrocketing, this low rate points to ignorance. Women either do not see themselves sufficient socioeconomically or they normalize violence in a sociocultural sense.

UPDATE II:
I also came across figures on murders of women since 2009 in the article, “This is a Civil War…” There is a large discrepancy between 2009 (1,126 murders) and 2010 (217 murders). If one were to be disingenuous regarding the issue, one could claim a massive decrease in murders!:

Here is the number of women murdered by year:

2002 – 66

2003 – 83

2004 – 164

2005 – 317

2006 – 663

2007 – 1,011

2008 – 806

2009 – 1,126

2010 – 217

2012: Rick Perry Ally Wants to Bar Muslims from Naturalization

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on August 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will lead American in prayer this weekend. Find out who he'll be praying with.Texas Gov. Rick Perry will lead American in prayer this weekend. Find out who he’ll be praying with.

2012: Rick Perry Ally Wants to Bar Muslims from Naturalization

By 

This weekend, Gov. Rick Perry will host a mass Christian prayer rally in his home state of Texas. The principal sponsor of the rally, the American Family Association, has a truly vile record on immigration issues. The Association’s principal spokesperson on policy issues, Bryan Fischer, says that Muslims should be barred from becoming naturalized citizens because, he says, Islam requires Muslims to kill Christian Americans.

Fischer has hosted a number of Republican presidential hopefuls, including Mike Huckabee and Tim Pawlenty, on his powerful “policy” radio broadcast that is heard nationally. His tarring of all Muslims as destructive of America has not dissuaded Perry and others from seeking Fischer’s favor. For instance, this rant by Fischer was deemed beyond the pale by Republican leaders:

We allow unrestricted Muslim immigration into the United States. We are welcoming to our shores, welcoming to our borders, men who are determined to destroy us. They’ve said it themselves, it’s in their own writings, it’s in their own words; they’re out to eliminate and destroy western civilization. It’s just absolute folly to invite that kind of toxic cancer into our culture, but that’s what we’re doing every single day.

Fischer has said that Muslim immigrants are not protected by the First Amendment. Fisher says there should be  “no more mosques, period” because “each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.”

Fischer says that Muslim’s should be ineligible to enter the U.S. and that those who are already here should be deported:

[T]he most compassionate thing we can do for Americans is to bring a halt to the immigration of Muslims into the U.S. This will protect our national security and preserve our national identity, culture, ideals and values. Muslims, by custom and religion, are simply unwilling to integrate into cultures with Western values and it is folly to pretend otherwise. In fact, they remain dedicated to subjecting all of America to sharia law and are working ceaselessly until that day of Islamic imposition comes.

The most compassionate thing we can do for Muslims who have already immigrated here is to help repatriate them back to Muslim countries, where they can live in a culture which shares their values, a place where they can once again be at home, surrounded by people who cherish their deeply held ideals. Why force them to chafe against the freedom, liberty and civil rights we cherish in the West?

In other words, simple Judeo-Christian compassion dictates a restriction and repatriation policy with regard to Muslim immigration into the U.S.

Fischer was a harsh critic of evangelicals who endorsed immigration reform as a way of showing compassion to the undocumented. Ladst year he wrote this in The Hill:

But upholding the law is not mistreatment. We do no wrong to the shoplifter by holding him accountable for his behavior. In fact, enforcing the law is the way government shows compassion for victims of crime. Compassion is misdirected if it is targeted toward lawbreakers rather than victims.

Where is the compassion for the residents of Arizona who are forced to cope with drug smuggling, drug-related violence, human trafficking, home invasions, kidnappings and $2.7 billion in annual costs imposed on them by illegals for education, welfare, law enforcement and healthcare?

There’s no way around the fact that my evangelical friends want to reward aliens who break the law.

We should instead deal with the 12 to 20 million illegals currently in the country through attrition, by making access to any taxpayer-funded resource — whether education, welfare or healthcare — contingent upon proof of legal residency.

Once illegals realize they will be sent home the moment they come to the attention of any government agency or any branch of law enforcement, they will immediately stop being a drain on taxpayer resources and will be the most law-abiding residents we have.

Rigorous use of the E-Verify system will dry up the job market for illegals, once again creating incentives for them to self-deport.

Enforcing our immigration policy need not break up families. The president sent spouses and children along when he deported the Russian spies, and we can do the same with every illegal alien. We do not want to separate husbands from wives, or children from parents, so our policy should be to repatriate entire families together to preserve family integrity.

If a member of a family has the legal right to remain in the U.S., he of course should be allowed to exercise that right. But then the family itself would be responsible for dissolving the family unit, not the United States.

Gov. Rick Perry, Violating Church-State Separation by Supporting Extremist Christians

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2011 by loonwatch

The story below from AlterNet is a must read, I don’t know why it is not being covered more. This is a clear and bold example of a high ranking politician meddling in religion and thereby comprising the separation between Church and State. If that wasn’t bad enough he happens to be propping up one of the most extremist, dominionist organizations and movements in the country, the AFA.

AFA is the same group whose rising star is the repugnant Bryan Fischer. Fischer has made radically hateful comments about Muslims and Gays. In light of the fact that the Islamophobesphere and twitterati are up in arms about the Imam who made homophobic statements, where is the outrage over Gov. Rick Perry? This is an issue that effects us ten times more than some Imam making bigoted remarks.

Interestingly enough I have just found out that Bruce Bawer, (a friend of Robert Spencer’s, who thinks the West is “appeasing Islam”) is now blogging on Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish. Just today, under a blog titled “Islamophobia,” Bawer writes somewhat misleadingly that if you object to an Imam who preaches intolerance of gays you will be labeled an “Islamophobe.” How ridiculous is that?

I tweeted back, “Bigotry does not make bigotry OK. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Homophobia does not justify #Islamophobia and vice versa.”

No response yet. However, I noticed that neither Andrew Sullivan or any of his fellow bloggers at the Daily Dish have commented on Gov.Rick Perry’s endorsement of AFA or full frontal assault on the separation of Religion and State.

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Bizarre, Fringe Mass Prayer Rally — What Happened to No Gov Meddling in Religion?

Gov. Rick Perry’s call for a day-long event of prayer and fasting Aug. 6 at a sports stadium in Houston is a dramatic escalation of government meddling in religion.

AlterNet / By Rob Boston

American politicians love to invoke religion, and a generic form of an alleged “one-size-fits-all” piety is so common that scholars have even give it a fancy name: ceremonial deism.

Ceremonial deism is what explains “In God We Trust” on our money, “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance and the tendency of presidents and governors to attend interfaith prayer services whenever there’s a natural disaster.

Despite its short-comings – ceremonial deism doesn’t offer much to non-believers, for example, and many devoutly religious people find it sterile and bland – the practice at least recognizes that religious beliefs come in many forms. Thus, God is appealed to but not Jesus. Prayers are “non-sectarian.”

What’s planned for Texas in August is not ceremonial deism. It’s something else entirely. And it’s a big problem.

Gov. Rick Perry’s call for a day-long event of prayer and fasting Aug. 6 at a sports stadium in Houston is a dramatic escalation of government meddling in religion. Called “The Response,” the event is being coordinated by the American Family Association (AFA), an extreme Religious Right group, as well as other far-right religious groups and figures with controversial theological and political ideas. The rally is exclusively Christian in nature; in fact, it reflects a certain type of Christianity – the fringes of fundamentalism.

What brought this about? Perry’s theological allies claim that America is being punished by God for its wicked ways. They see a national day of repentance as the solution.

On The Response’s website, Perry writes, “Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.”

Of course, this could be just a sheer political ploy. Perry has been openly flirting with a presidential run, and this event could be little more than an effort to curry favor with the Religious Right in advance of that.

Regardless, word is spreading quickly among the religio-political right. Potential attendees to The Response are told to bring a Bible and encouraged to fast – although there will be a few food vendors on site for those who can’t or won’t. The groups behind this effort tend to come from the fringes of Christianity that are obsessed with things like prophecy, direct messages from God, faith healing and so on. These charismatic Christians emphasize a highly charged form of worship that stresses emotional outbursts and a theology of judgment. They seem to be convinced that God has it in for America, mainly because we permit legal abortion, tolerate gays and have a secular government.

Many churches in America preach this theology, and Americans are free to attend these houses of worship and hear it whenever they like. But government endorsement of this sectarian message goes too far – and that’s why more and more people are speaking out over Perry’s prayer confab.

Mainline Christian, non-Christian and secularist groups have protested the Perry event – and rightly so. Perry and his supporters don’t try to downplay the proselytizing nature of the event; in fact, they brag about it. They say non-Christians are welcome to attend to hear a message about redemption through Christ.

Perry defended the event, tellingThe New York Times, “It is Christian-centered, yes, but I have invited and welcome people of all faiths to attend.” He also brushed off charges that the AFA is extreme, calling it “a group that promotes faith and strong families, and this event is about bringing Americans together in prayer.”

Read the rest at AlterNet