Bill Maher to Right-Wing Christians: If You Do God's Work, Why Are You Always Wrong?
October 13, 2012 |
Maher revisits a 2008 letter sent out by Focus on the Family detailing the horrors that would befall the nation if Barack Obama won the Presidency. As Maher points out, not a single one of the group's 34 dire predictions came to pass: school children still say the Pledge of Allegiance and the government has not seized everyone's guns.
Maher admits that Focus in the Family is in the business of scaring "rubes" into giving them money, so the truth is not their highest priority. "But 0 for 34?" he asks in disbelief. Watch Maher eviscerate the right-wing group below.
A documented case of false prophecy: Four years later, ‘Letter from 2012′ makes Focus on the Family look ridiculous
October 1, 2012 By 233 CommentsBefore the 2008 election, the religious right was predicting doom, gloom and the end of the world if Barack Obama were to win.
One of the most colorful and intense denunciations of Obama came from Focus on the Family, which produced a 16-page “Letter From 2012 in Obama’s America.” I had forgotten all about that dire “letter from the future.”
Unfortunately for Focus, Libby Anne did not forget about it. Since this fictional “letter” was dated October 2012 — which is now — she dug out a copy to see how it’s many predictions have held up. The result is a devastating post titled “This is the most important election of all time! (again)”
Focus on the Family made 34 specific, detailed predictions about what would happen in “Obama’s America.” They came up 0-for-34.
Well, let’s be generous — we’ll give them half credit for prediction No. 10. That one correctly foresaw the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — but then also incorrectly predicted a host of disastrous consequences of that repeal. Obama did repeal DADT, but Christians have not been expelled from the military and the Pentagon isn’t paying “special bonuses” to LGBT recruits. But still, that one comes closer than the other 33 predictions, which are all utterly wrong, so let’s cut Focus some slack and say they’re 0.5-for-34.
The Boy Scouts and private Christian schools were not forced to disband by the Supreme Court; adoption agencies remain in business; religious broadcasters still broadcast; churches are not being compelled to host gay weddings or to hire lesbian clergy; Christian tribal gatherings are still permitted “at the pole” in public high schools; the Pledge of Allegiance and private gun ownership have not been outlawed.
Libby Anne’s post is long because it is impressively thorough and methodical. Here is what Focus on the Family said would happen. Here is what actually did happen instead. Over and over and over. Focus on the Family was wrong. Focus on the Family was wrong. Focus on the Family was wrong. … Thirty-four times over. Treat yourself to reading the whole thing.
Re-reading the Focus letter four years later, what strikes me most — besides how utterly wrong they are about everything — is how parochial their imagination is when attempting to envision a political dystopia. The horrors they predict are almost all narrowly targeted at and tailored toward them. I’ve read a ton of dystopian stories, good and bad, and this is the most cluelessly self-absorbed vision of its kind that I’ve ever seen.
Maybe my favorite part of the letter (here’s a .pdf version) is prediction No. 18: “Pornographic magazines are openly displayed in gas stations, grocery stores and on newsstands.” I can’t figure out which is more laughably wrong — that this is what they imagine is the real secret agenda of President Obama and his party, or that anyone in 2008 was looking ahead to 2012 and predicting boom times for print media.
“This is the most important election of all time!” (again)
October 1, 2012 By 197 CommentsYou’ve probably heard by now that if Obama wins a second term we will become a socialist nation, gun ownership will be made illegal, our country will be unrecognizable by the end of his term, and on and on. If you listen to leaders on the Right it sounds like this election is the most important election of all time and that all of America’s freedoms are staked Romney defeating Obama. There’s just one problem. I remember 2008.
In 2008 prominent Christian Right group Focus on the Family put out a sixteen page document called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America.” The document was in the form of a letter, a (fictional) letter from a Christian in 2012 writing back from the future about all the changes that had happened since Obama took office. Let’s take a look, shall we? The letter starts like this:
October 22, 2012In other words, the purpose of this letter is to scare evangelicals – especially younger evangelicals – out of voting for Obama and convince them to vote for McCain. Here are some excerpts regarding the changes that were supposedly going to happen over the four years following 2008 if Barack Obama was elected (the things that will happen are numbered, and I have maintained that numbering):
I can hardly sing “The Star Spangled Banner” any more. When I hear the words,
O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
I get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Now in October of 2012, after seeing what has happened in the last four years, I don’t think I can still answer, “Yes,” to that question. We are not “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Many of our freedoms have been taken away by a liberal Supreme Court and a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, and hardly any brave citizen dares to resist the new government policies any more.
The 2008 election was closer than anybody expected, but Barack Obama still won. Many Christians voted for Obama – younger evangelicals actually provided him with the needed margin to defeat John McCain – but they didn’t think he would really follow through on the farLeft policies that had marked his career.
They were wrong.
(1) The Boy Scouts no longer exist as an organization. They chose to disband rather than be forced to obey the Supreme Court decision that they would have to hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys.That didn’t happen. The Boy Scouts still discriminate against gay people, and no one is stopping them. They also discriminate against atheists, which means my eagle scout husband will not be able to enroll our son Bobby in boy scouts.
(2) Elementary schools now include compulsory training in varieties of gender identity in Grade 1, including the goodness of homosexuality as one possible personal choice. Many parents tried to “opt out” their children from such sessions, but the courts have ruled they cannot do this, noting that education experts in the government have decided that such training is essential to children’s psychological health.Nope, actually, schools are still generally unsafe places for LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ teens are still committing suicide because of the abuse they face, not just from other students but sometimes even from teachers.
(10) One change regarding the status of homosexuals did not wait for any Supreme Court decision. In the first week after his inauguration, President Obama invited homosexual rights leaders from around the United States to join him at the White House as he signed an executive order directing all branches of the military to abandon their “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and to start actively recruiting homosexuals.This one comes closest to being true. Obama did repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (though it took him a while to do so!). But for some reason the author of this letter couldn’t stop there. Special bonuses for new recruits who are gay? Anyone who is not 100% pro gay rights is passed over for promotions? Um, no. That’s not happening. All that changed is that gay soldiers can now, like, tell people that they’re gay.
As a result, homosexuals are now given special bonuses for enlisting in military service (to attempt to compensate for past discrimination), and all new recruits, and all active-duty and reserve personnel, are compelled to take many hours of “sensitivity training” to ensure they demonstrate positive attitudes toward those with different sexual orientations and practices. Any one who seems hesitant or who objects is routinely passed over for promotion. In addition, any chaplain who holds to an interpretation of Scripture that homosexual conduct is morally wrong and therefore does not espouse “mainstream values,” is dismissed from the military.
(11) High schools are no longer free to allow “See You at the Pole” meetings where students pray together, or any student Bible studies even before or after school.What? Nope, no one is stopping kids from praying before school and no one is busting up Bible studies.
(15) Congress lost no time in solidifying abortion rights under President Obama. In fact, Obama had promised, “The first thing I’ll do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (July 17, 2007, speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund). This federal law immediately nullified hundreds of state laws that had created even the slightest barrier to abortion. States can no longer require parental involvement for minors who wish to have an abortion, waiting period, informed consent rules, restrictions on tax-payer funding or restrictions on late-term abortions. The act reversed the Hyde Amendment, so the government now funds Medicaid abortions for any reason. As a result, the number of abortions has increased dramatically. The Freedom of Choice Act also reversed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, so infants can be killed outright just seconds before they would be born. States whose laws were overturned challenged the law in court but it was upheld by the Obama Supreme Court.Um, actually, the reality is the exact opposite of this. Between 2008 and 2012 abortion restrictions absolutely ballooned. And the Hyde amendment, prohibiting federal funding for abortion, is still firmly in place.
Also, I’m curious about the suggestion that lifting restrictions on abortions would cause the numbers of women having abortions to “increase dramatically.” If this suggestion is true, it would mean that there are significant numbers of women out there today who want abortions and end up being forced to carry their pregnancies to term and become mothers because they are unable to obtain abortions. I’m sure this is the reality for some women, but how many? Not for as many as the author of this letter things, I’m hoping. But regardless, this statement does make clear the goal of restrictions on abortions – preventing women from accessing constitutionally protected health care.
Alternatively, of course, the author may think that if abortion were as easy to get as a lolly pop, there would be lots of women who are actually okay with the idea of having a baby who would run out and get on at a moment’s notice because, I don’t know, they got annoyed at wearing maternity clothes or something. I remember hearing this attitude as a child, this idea that women were somehow so empty minded that if abortion was available in the local drug store, they’d just run in and get one, as if the decision to have an abortion was something women made lightly and without thought. On a lark, like.
(18) It’s almost impossible to keep children from seeing pornography. The Supreme Court in 2011 nullified all Federal Communications Commission restrictions on obscene speech or visual content in radio and television broadcasts.Nope. Didn’t happen.
Also, how come the Christian Right is against regulations when they apply to how businesses operate, but all for regulations when it comes to how TV and radio stations operate? I mean, if the free market is so glorious, the “magic hand” and all that, why would it not work in the case of TV and radio? I mean, wouldn’t some channels bill themselves as obscenity-free just to get viewers, while others would go all whole hog obscenity to get a different set of viewers, and then everyone would be happy?
(19) It is illegal for private citizens to own guns for self-defense in eight states, and the number is growing with increasing Democratic control of state legislatures and governorships.Believe it or not, no one has taken away your guns and no one will. I have yet to meet a single Democrat who wants to completely ban private ownership of guns. (Regulating is not banning. Requiring background checks is not banning. Requiring courses on gun safety, or whatever else, is not banning. Unless, that is, requiring drivers licenses = banning cars.) Also, believe it or not, Obama has not enacted any new gun regulations while in office. NOT ONE. So yeah, that didn’t happen.
(20) Parents’ freedom to teach their children at home has been severely restricted. … The Supreme Court declared that home schooling was a violation of state educational requirements except in cases where the parents (a) had an education certificate from an accredited state program., (b) agreed to use state-approved textbooks in all courses, and (c) agreed not to teach their children that homosexual conduct is wrong, or that Jesus is the only way to God, since these ideas have been found to hinder students’ social adjustment and acceptance of other lifestyles and beliefs, and to run counter to the state’s interest in educating its children to be good citizens. Parents found in violation of this ruling have been subject to prosecutions for truancy violation, resulting in heavy fines and eventual removal of their children from the home. Thousands of home schooling parents, seeing no alternative in the United States, have begun to emigrate to other countries, particularly Australia and New Zealand, where home schooling is still quite prevalent.Didn’t happen.
Also, could someone from Australia or New Zealand please explain why your countries represent the wet dream of homeschoolers? Almost every time any homeschool advocate discusses the potential regulation of homeschooling in this country, they follow it with “let’s just all move to Australia/New Zealand.” Supposedly, there are already American homeschoolers doing just that. So spill. Do you guys not regulate homeschooling at all or something?
(21) President Obama fulfilled his campaign promise and began regular withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, completing it in the promised 16 months, by April 2010. All was peaceful during those months, but then in May 2010, Al-Qaida operatives from Syria and Iran poured into Iraq and completely overwhelmed the Iraqi security forces. A Taliban-like oppression has taken over in Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of “American sympathizers” have been labeled as traitors, imprisoned, tortured, and killed. The number put to death may soon reach the millions.Didn’t happen. Instead, Obama had Osama Bin Ladin killed. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, huh?
Al-Qaida leaders have been emboldened by what they are calling the American “defeat” and their ranks are swelling in dozens of countries.
(22) President Obama directed U.S. intelligence services to cease all wiretapping of alleged terrorist phone calls unless they first obtained a warrant for each case. Terrorists captured overseas, instead of being tried in military tribunals, are given full trials in the U.S. court system, and they have to be allowed access to a number of government secrets to prepare their defense.I’m wracking my brain, and I’m not coming up with a single Islamic terrorist attack in this country in the last four years. Well, that one Muslim psychologist in the U.S. army killed several dozen soldiers on an army base, I suppose that counts – though it didn’t involve the “terrorist bombs” predicted. That guy out in Norway killed almost a hundred people, but he was a right wing extremist and that wasn’t the U.S. We’ve had plenty of shootings, from Gabrielle Giffords to the guy in Aurora to the guy who shot up a Sikh temple (because it looked Muslim, I guess), but those weren’t the Islamic terrorist attacks this letter suggests. So yeah. Didn’t happen.
Since 2009, terrorist bombs have exploded in two large and two small U.S. cities, killing hundreds, and the entire country is fearful, for no place seems safe.
(23) In early 2009, [Russia] followed the pattern they had begun in Georgia in 2008 and sent troops to occupy and re-take several Eastern European countries, starting with the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. President Obama appealed to the United Nations (UN), taking the same approach he had in his initial statements when Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008: “Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war,” and “All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis,”Someone please remind the people at Focus on the Family that the Cold War is over?
But Russia sits on the Security Council, and no U.N. action has yet been taken.
Then in the next three years, Russia occupied additional countries that had been previous Soviet satellite nations, including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, with no military response from the U.S. or the U.N. NATO heads of state have severely condemned Russia’s actions each time but they could never reach consensus on military action.
Also, didn’t happen.
(25) In mid-2010, Iran launched a nuclear bomb that exploded in the middle of Tel Aviv, destroying much of that city. They then demanded that Israel cede huge amounts of territory to the Palestinians, and after an anguished all-night Cabinet meeting, Israel’s prime minister agreed. Israel is reduced to a much smaller country, hardly able to defend itself, and its future remains uncertain. President Obama said he abhorred what Iran had done and he hoped the U.N. would unanimously condemn this crime against humanity. He also declared that the U.S. would be part of any international peacekeeping force if authorized by the U.N., but the Muslim nations in the U.N. have so far prevented any action.No, Iran has not nuked Israel. What confuses me about the above scenario is that while Iran is supposedly working on making nuclear weapons, Israel actually has them, and given historical precedent the idea that Israel would just stand down and cede away its land in this situation seems highly unlikely. (Someone who knows more about the Israel/Iran situation, feel free to offer more information.)
(26) The new Congress under President Obama passed a nationalized “single provider” health care system, in which the U.S. government is the provider of all health care in the United States, following the pattern of nationalized medicine in the United Kingdom and Canada. The great benefit is that medical care is now free for everyone — if you can get it. Now that health care is free, it seems everybody wants more of it. The waiting list for prostate cancer surgery is 3 years. The waiting list for ovarian cancer is 2 years. Just as the Canadian experience had shown prior to 2008 with its nationalized health care, so in the U.S. only a small number of MRIs are performed — down 90% from 2008 — because they are too expensive, and they discover more problems that need treatment, so they are almost never authorized.First, this didn’t happen. In fact, when Obama started working on health care reform he didn’t even pitch a single provider system, let alone pass such a thing. Instead, Obama passed the Republicans’ own health care plan. And then, bizarrely, the Republicans threw a fit.
(27) Because medical resources must be rationed carefully by the government, people older than 80 have essentially no access to hospitals or surgical procedures. Their “duty” is increasingly thought to be to go home to die, so they don’t drain scarce resources from the medical system. Euthanasia is becoming more and more common.
Second, the person who wrote this clearly knows nothing about how the national health care systems in other western nations actually work. (If you live in such a country, feel free to explain the problems with these paragraphs.)
(28) Many Christians who voted for Obama did so because they thought his tax policies were fairer and his “middle-class tax cuts” would bring the economy out of its 2008 crisis. But once he took office, he followed the consistent pattern of the Democratic Party and his own record and asked Congress for a large tax increase. He explained the deficit had grown so large under President Bush, and the needs of the nation were so great, that we couldn’t afford to cut taxes.Let’s have a quiz, shall we?
Obama did which of the following while in office:There, that was fun.
A. Raise taxesB. Cut taxesAnswer: B
(31) World demand for oil continues to climb, and prices keep going up, but President Obama for four years has refused to allow additional drilling for oil in the United States or offshore. Gas costs more than $7 per gallon, and many Democrats openly applaud this, since high prices reduce oil consumption and thus reduce carbon dioxide output. But working Americans are hit hard by these costs.Yeah, that $7 a gallon gas is really hurting my pocketbook. Or not. I will say that $4 a gallon gas certainly isn’t fun, but $4 isn’t $7.
Also, Obama has opened additional drilling offshore. Yes, you read that right.
(31) As for coal, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to implement strict new carbon emission standards that drove many coal-powered electric plants out of business. The country has less total electric power available than in 2008, and periodic blackouts to conserve energy occur on a regular schedule throughout the nation. The price of electricity has tripled in places like California, which also faces rolling blackouts during peak energy periods. The impact on our economy, and our homes, has been devastating.I’m sorry, rolling blackouts? What?
(32) By the summer of 2009, the five-member FCC was controlled by Democratic appointees – including a chairman appointed by President Obama. The “Fairness Doctrine” became a topic of FCC consideration following pressure from Democratic congressional leaders who initially did not have sufficient votes to pass the measure. The FCC quickly implemented the “Fairness Doctrine,” which requires that radio stations provide “equal time” for alternative views on political or policy issues.Hang on. I have to stop laughing before I can finish this post.
As a result, all radio stations have to provide equal time to contrasting views for every political or policy-related program they broadcast by talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Dennis Prager, Janet Parshall, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt, and broadcasters like Dr. James Dobson. Every conservative talk show is followed by an instant rebuttal to the program by a liberal “watchdog” group. Many listeners gave up in frustration, advertising (and donation) revenues dropped dramatically, and nearly all conservative stations have gone out of business or switched to alternative formats such as country or gospel or other music. Conservative talk radio, for all intents and purposes, was shut down by the end of 2010.
How does the author finish this “letter from 2012 in Obama’s America”? Well, a letter like this wouldn’t be complete without talk of Christians in the United States being thrown in jail now, would it?
Many brave Christian men and women tried to resist these laws, and some Christian legal agencies tried to defend them, but they couldn’t resist the power of a 6-3 liberal majority on the Supreme Court. It seems many of the bravest ones went to jail or were driven to bankruptcy. And many of their reputations have been destroyed by a relentless press and the endless repetition of false accusations.Let’s see. The Soviet Union rises again? Check. Christians being thrown in jail in the United States? Check. Just so we’re, you know, being thorough.
And of course, the letter ends with a call to action:
When did this all start? Christians share a lot of the blame. In 2008, many evangelicals thought Senator Obama was an opportunity for a “change,” and they voted for him. They did not realize Obama’s far-Left agenda would take away many of our freedoms, perhaps permanently (it is unlikely the Supreme Court can be changed for perhaps 30 years). Christians did not realize that by electing Barack Obama — rated the most liberal U.S. senator in 2007 — they would allow the law, in the hands of a liberal Congress and Supreme Court, to become a great instrument of oppression.The whole purpose of this letter, like I said, was to scare evangelicals out of voting for Obama at any cost. And today, they’re doing the same thing. If you vote for Obama, they say, every manner of horrible awful no good very bad thing will happen. Your freedoms will disappear. They will take your guns, they will ban homeschooling, they will send your grandma to death panels.
But this is getting old. See, leaders on the Right do this every election year. Every election is “the most important election of all time,” and every election year they warn that our freedoms as Americans are on the line. Every election year they predict catastrophe if they lose the election. The day after Obama’s election, a friend facebooked me a simple question: “Are you ready for four years of hell?” He went on to talk about Christians being put in jail and socialism coming to America. Didn’t happen.
It’s like all those times Christian leaders have predicted Jesus’ return. You can only predict it and then have it not happen so many times before you lose all credibility whatsoever. It’s as if the Right is playing a game to see how many times they can predict the destruction of our freedoms before they get called on it. And seriously, it’s about time someone called them on it.
And don’t even get me started on the portrayal of liberals as anti-American.