Tony Perkins Says Conservative Christians Have More Rights than Other Christians

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TonyPerkins

According to Tony Perkins, who says condom use leads to tyranny, the First Amendment is situational and therefore relativistic. In accordance with recent Religious Right thinking on the subject, it was written by the Founding Fathers to apply only to Christians, and not only that, but to Orthodox Christians. You know, the brand of Christianity that ruthlessly exterminated not only every alternative to Christianity, but every alternative to orthodoxy from within Christianity.

As reported by Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch, Perkins “implied…that Christians who support gay rights don’t have the same religious rights as conservative Christians because ‘true religious freedom’ only applies to ‘orthodox religious viewpoints.'”

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Well, that leaves you out, Tony.

Let’s take another look at the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Nope, Tony. In fact, it says exactly the opposite of what you claim: “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” eliminates rather nicely any idea that certain religions (Christianity is not even specifically mentioned) have more rights than others.

Perkins told a caller on Monday’s Washington Watch:

I would use that term ‘Christian’ loosely. That title is — let’s talk biblical, here’s the deal, it’s like with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that we worked on in Mississippi and failed in Arizona and other places, here’s a test of what is a true religious freedom, a freedom that’s based on orthodox religious viewpoints. It has to have a track record, it has to come forth from religious orthodoxy.

Maybe Perkins knows about some “true religious freedoms” the rest of us have never heard of, but regardless, the only “true religious freedoms” come from the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Constitution says Tony Perkins is dead wrong.

The thing is, the so-called Christianity espoused by the Religious Right is a heresy, according to Christianity’s own terminology, and is about as far from orthodoxy as you can get, lacking, as it does, any real place for Jesus’ actual teachings, which are ignored in favor of Old Testament fire and brimstone, and then only selectively.

The only aspect of orthodoxy the Religious Right really rocks is the relentless pursuit of intolerance of all other viewpoints. Christianity’s 2000 year history is one of warring denominations but nobody did it better than orthodoxy. And we can imagine today that were it not for the First Amendment, orthodoxy would have suffocated the Religious Right in its metaphorical cradle and old Tony would have been crisping at the stake long since.

Perkins went on to claim:

You cannot point to the Christian faith and say that same-sex marriage has been a key teaching of the church. You can only point to the opposite, that the church has stood against sexual immorality in terms of sexual relations of those outside of marriage and in particular homosexual behavior. There is no place, there is nothing for them to stand on and say that same-sex marriage has standing in the orthodox Christian faith.

They’re playing games here, trying to turn the effort that so many Americans are now faced with of preserving religious freedom, they’re now trying to do a jujitsu move and say, ‘We’re going to use religious freedom to say we have a right to do same-sex marriage.’ Well, there is no foundation for that, there is no orthodox Christian holding that has ever said marriage is between people of the same sex.

All that’s between Christians. The government, according to the First Amendment, can have nothing to do with doctrinal squabbles. In fact, that is one of the things the First Amendment was meant to prohibit, because of the long history of Old World abuses.

Jesus Not a Jew Not my Problem

In the end, it’s hard not to picture Jesus just laughing, because Jesus was a Jew, and he did not preach to Gentiles. He told his disciples not to teach to Gentiles, referring to Gentiles like Tony Perkins, in time honored conservative Jewish fashion, as dogs and swine.

Unfortunately, given that Perkins is trying to push his viewpoint on the rest of us, and that he has widespread support in the Republican Party for this position, it is no laughing matter. Perkins, as Tashman says, seems to positioning himself as the “final arbiter” of what defines Christianity. That’s fine, as long as lunatic Republicans don’t try to make it a legal definition. After all, various Christians groups have been playing THAT game for 2000 years.

The thing is, as you know very well, they will try. It’s not much of a step from saying the Constitution’s ban on religious tests (Article VI paragraph 3) is meaningless to saying that not only do you have to be a Christian to hold office, but you have to be the right kind of Christian.

52 Replies to “Tony Perkins Says Conservative Christians Have More Rights than Other Christians”

  1. The drive toward ideological purity is strong, isn’t it? People like Perkins have so little faith in their beliefs that exclusionism is their ultimate answer and comfort. It is a “last man standing” POV, and is the common denominator among all extremist groups. It explains the intertwining of the religious fringe and the teaparty movment. Ultimately, they end up eating each other – but they can make life miserable for the rest of us in their pursuit of purity.

  2. There seems to be an anti-Christian movement afoot, not one that’s atheist or associated with other mainstream or extremist religions, but rather one that will not associate oneself with any type of organized Christian religion, will not attend, will not spread the word, will not define the self as a Christian in any way. These people believe in Jesus as a teacher, a mentor, and walk with him daily. But, they find the talking Christians, like Fisher, like Perkins, like Robertson et al, and the minions who mimick their every word, woefully ignorant of Jesus’ teachings. As one would not associated with an evil person, so these people who quietly walk with Jesus do not associate with any Christian religion. They instead allow their spirituality to guide their waking actions. Religion is man-made; Spirituality comes from within the person and is thus the true foundation of one’s faith. As a Toaist, I applaud their efforts to counter the shrieking of the Religious Right.

  3. Yesterday I posted a comment regarding the obvious ways that the Conservative Christian Right IS the new Nazi party. Well Tony proved one of my points regarding the purity tests that they will institute themselves. Many times in my life I have stated things and been chastised or ignored, and EVERY time I am proven correct. Which shows you cannot bullshit an atheist democrat.

  4. exactly how does Perkins keep a straight face when he uses the excuse of “special rights” when fighting ‘his’ demons when he is proclaiming these ‘special rights’ because he of his perceived WASPish entitlements? i still contend that if Jesus were alive today, the last thing he would want to be is a christian.

  5. wait! Perkins says, “…the church has stood against sexual immorality in terms of sexual relations of those outside of marriage and in particular homosexual behavior.”

    the solution is right there for him: LET LGBTQ MARRY! they are then “inside” of marriage! problem solved directly from the mouth of the source. nuf said?

  6. That’s not true, larger numbers of pastors, priests, et cetera are recorded preaching politics every major election cycle. You can find out how wrong you are with a quick Google search.

  7. I wonder if christians understand what the fundies they support actually think of them? Do they ever feel used even if only for a moment? Just because the fundies use the word christian to get what they want, they do not consider anyone else christians.

    Tony Perkins has never once been honest or right. The two go together. There are no teachings in the boble that teach what Tony Perkins is, says or does.

    If you support this man and the fundamentalist groups while not being part of them, you are used. And you certainly are not going to the same heaven they are

  8. When it comes to The Separation of Church and State, some people need to look at the big picture. This part of The Constitution is what gives you your Freedom of Religion, if it wasn’t for it, one bunch would of taken over all the others. I belong to a very small denomination, like other Churches, we have our things that we believe when it comes to our worship. That wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t Separation of Church and State.

  9. I know the group of Christians you speak of well. My husband and I disdain organized religion, but speak with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ daily. People like Perkins and his minions will have their day at The Judgement Seat, while my family and I can do nothing but shake our heads at the utter perversion of the Christian faith they portray. They are NOT Christian. I’m quite sure they would spit on Jesus and tell him to go get a job. I pray they see the light, but I won’t hold my breath.

  10. It was satire, Jae. Anyone who’s paying attention knows that conservative preachers talk politics from the pulpit all the time.

  11. If you have witnessed such things, they can and must be reported to the IRS. But you have to have heard it in person. The Bush administration investigated liberal churches on hearsay, but this administration, adhering to the law, does not. It might be worth attending a megachurch at election time to find out?

    It is flat out illegal, period.

  12. I believe these Christians are destroying themselves from within. These are not the teachings of the Christ I grew up with. Perkins is teaching people to hate. I think Christ would take issue with that. A group of us were talking last week. This Christian Right seems so much like the beginning of the Nazi Party. I don’t understand why more people don’t see it or maybe they do and are too frightened to acknowledge it. Perkins and this current crop of Christians is dividing the religion. Even the Pope appears nervous. We may be back to purity tests, witchhunts, burning at the stake. I really believe that would make Perkins very happy. He could be the new Messiah. Or Nazi leader.

  13. Tony’s understanding of “orthodox” is flawed since at the time the Constitution was written, his Pentecostal dominionist views were non-existent. Anglicans, Congregationalists, American Baptists (RI), Quakers, and some Catholics (MD) existed with a handful of Jews, and that’s IT. So he would not remotely come under the late 18th century protections he claims were in force. Oh – and one should know that the First Amendment was designed to prevent Congregational dominance over all other churches, but hey – what’s a little historical revisionism? Abortion was legal, gay rights were non existent but gay relationships pretty much ignored so long as no kids were involved. Rape was punished viciously on the perpetrator. I suspect if Tony really knew his history he’d not be so happy to live under the ‘original intent’ premises of the Constitution at all.

  14. Unfortunately the other Christians are perverting the religion and are given the loudest voice; they are drowning out the rational voices; the irrational are being elected. The separation of church and state is being ignored – hell, it’s being mocked. We are going to turn into North-South Korea, East-West Germany, and it appears there is nothing we can do about it because our politicians have been bought and sold by Citizens United. The richest own this country and are molding it to their own liking. In 100 years women will be giving birth only to the Koch brothers offspring. It sounds like a crazy science fiction movie but I really believe we are heading there with a government (democrat and republican) that has sold out to the highest bidder. And We ain’t the highest bidder. The voters are now nobodies. We can stay home – move along – nothing to see here.

  15. Do I know what these “christians” think of me? Absolutely! If they succeed, I’ll be one of their first targets, because Christians who do not follow their line are the most dangerous to them. We can’t stop them using the term “christian”; they have the press. Do I support them? Absolutely Not! They are not Christian; if they were to run into Jesus, they would be the first to kill him. Jesus would be against everything they stand for, and would loudly say so.

  16. “In accordance with recent Religious Right thinking on the subject, it was written by the Founding Fathers to apply only to Christians, and not only that, but to Orthodox Christians.”

    And that is why (in most years, anyway), we get such great discounts on Easter lilies and chocolate bunnies!

    P.S. the Religious Right has no idea about Orthodox Christians. We’re not angry enough for their taste. And they probably wouldn’t like icons because Christ doesn’t look Aryan in them. They probably wouldn’t enjoy being vegan during Lent, either. Or hearing “Christ is Risen” in Arabic and other un-American languages.

  17. How terribly ‘christian’ of you, Terry.

    Matthew 7:

    15 ¶Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

  18. It would be extremely helpful if the real Christians, such as yourself, would speak up and denounce what the “talkers” are doing to your religion. Unfortunately, you don’t. And you won’t. You just sit back, calm in your assertion that you’re better than they are. Well, how much better can you be if you allow this to continue? You are just as guilty as those German Christians that did nothing to help the Jews when the Nazis were exterminating them.

  19. Well said. Perkins et al, are snivelers looking for the biggest backside to kiss so that they can feel OK about tyrannizing over the rest of us. That’s ALL they really want!

  20. The author needs to check his anti-Jewish beliefs. You can’t refer to early Judaism as “conservative”, nor is it true that Jews see non-Jews in such a neg. light (sure we have 2-3% fundamentalist crazies). Actually Judaism is one of the few non-proselytizing religions, no belief that people have to be Jewish to be moral and close to God. Kosher is complex, it is non-observant Jews and non-Jews who focus so extensively on pork and swine – not a Jewish obsession. Otherwise piece is interesting.

  21. I have been waiting for one of the religious right’s own to say this. One branch of the belief system over and other, sounds a whole lot like Sunni and Shia going after each other. This is why the people who founded this nation wanted to keep religion out of politics. Hell wasn’t Christ himself at the Temple speaking to the money changers who is quoted as saying: “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God”, Mark 12:17. Apparently US Christians have left that out of the new testaments they use.

  22. Not only is Perkins a Fascist and psychopathic bastard, but, when he makes ridiculous statements as he does, he also goes “Full Godwin” on us :( ssmdh

  23. Being a true Christian means being obedient to the church. Since the church and Republican party have merged, it also means being obedient to the Republican party. Anyone not obedient is considered anti-Christian and not a patriot. Patriotism to the right means obedience.

  24. I thought Bill Donohue the divorced hypocrite of The Catholic League was the self-appointed ‘final arbiter’ of Christianity!

    Bless my soul, so Tony Perkins is now the ‘final arbiter’.

    When is Joel Osteen going to claim he is the ‘final arbiter’?

    Sheesh, it is hard to keep up with all these self-appointed imbeciles who have issued themselves “Deputy God” badges!

  25. oops – I meant to say …”Sojourners”, an organization that regularly speaks out against this kind of small-minded thinking AND advocates for social justice

  26. “The thing is, the so-called Christianity espoused by the Religious Right is a heresy, according to Christianity’s own terminology”

    At last, someone calls them what they are, in print. This Christian thanks you.

  27. The hubris of this kind of Christian is appalling. In a country founded on religious freedom, they keep insisting on depriving individuals following religious convictions different from theirs of this key right.

  28. The reason you get ignored is because if you dont believe then in most christans minds you have no credibility.

  29. As always there is no lie, too egregious. too absurd, too lacking in common sense or even human decency that the religious reich wackos will not use it.

    They are disgusting human beings.

  30. Perkins and his ilk do not speak for Christians or Christianity. BUT they have easy access to the media and they have big money backing them, so they get their message out, no matter how it perverts Jesus, His message, or the Constitution.

  31. No, it’s not. Rather it is way past time to be done with persecuting anyone for their religious beliefs or for their lack of religious belief. Perkins et. al. aren’t Christians. They are right wing blowhards who intentionally confuse their political beliefs with religiosity to get the easily misled to follow after them and keep them in the greenest of pastures. So to speak.

  32. Perkins, the right-wingers are NOT conservative, they are authoritarian pseudo-christians who are ignorant of Jesus and the Scriptures. Their interest is only in THEIR Scriptures of Greed, hate and racism.

  33. You’re quite right, Churchlady. Literal reading and understanding of the Bible, which these men insist upon, is quite a recent development, starting with an author around 1860, and spreading slowly after that.

    These far-right extremists are anything but orthodox, omitting any Christian interest in peacemaking or relieving the burden of the poor from their mission in life. Jesus Christ’s interpretation of the whole of God’s law was that we love Her, and that which God loves: each other.

  34. “I would use… ‘Christian’ loosely…. here’s a test of what is a true religious freedom… based on orthodox religious viewpoints….it has to come forth from religious orthodoxy.” And WHO pray tell defines orthodox?! “They’re… trying to turn the effort that so many Americans are faced with of preserving religious freedom, they …say, ‘We’re going to use religious freedom to say we have a right to do same-sex marriage.’ There is … no orthodox Christian holding that has ever said marriage is between people of the same sex.” From my reading of Paul’s letter to the Romans, I agree. But is Perkins saying the Founding Fathers intended for legislation to be based on the Book of Romans? Scary. (I must however disagree with Haraldsson on one point: Jesus never told His disciples to not teach Gentiles. In Matt. 15: 21-28, He tested the faith of the Canaanite woman by quoting that shibboleth, then commended her and healed her daughter. Matt. 28: 16-20 says to teach …

  35. WHAT DID THE FIRST CHRISTIANS BELIEVE?

    THE CHURCH OF CHRIST HAD ITS BEGINNING ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST 33 A.D.. WHAT BELIEFS AND ACTIONS DID THE THREE THOUSAND CONVERTS TO CHRIST HAVE IN COMMON? DID GOD APPROVE OF EVOLVING BELIEFS, DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS FOR SALVATION? IF THAT WERE TRUE, THEN WOULD IT NOT BE FOUND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?

    Acts 2:41 So then, those who received his word were baptized; and there were added about three thousand souls. Acts 2:47….And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    All three thousand believed the apostle Peter’s message and were baptized in water. Then they were added to the Lord’s church by the Lord Himself. The Lord did not add the unsaved to His church. They had to believe and be baptized in water prior to being added to the body of Christ.

    1. Acts 2:22 Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God perf…

  36. “Orthodox.”

    Mr Perkins must mean the Eastern Rite churches – Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, etc. who call themselves “Orthodox.” Otherwise his nomenclature is very inaccurate.

    Those that say they want a “Christian country” rarely say what type. Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed, Presbyterian…there are many different “flavours” of Christianity.

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